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Communication Dans Un Congrès Année : 2012

Articulating a new mediated public sphere ? A discourse-theoretical analysis to new media audience studies in china mainland (2000-2010)


Taking 'audience' as a floating signifier, this article focuses on the articulation of the identity of new media audience in China's context from 2000 to 2010. The impact of new media (Internet and various digital media) on audience studies has inspired quite a few theoretical debates among 'western' communication researchers. Within the theoretical framework of Laclau and Mouffe's discourse theory and the qualitative methodological framework of discoursetheoretical analysis (DTA), which have been applied to the 'traditional' media audience research, this paper attempts to scrutinize the concepts about 'new media audience' in China's specific societal and academic contexts. For the societal context, the popularization of new media in China since 2000 can be viewed as a technological and marketrelated consequence of China's embracing globalization; meanwhile, the social use of new media (especially the Internet) has been playing an active role in fostering domestic civil society. For the academic context, Chinese communication research is part of the 'disciplined' educational system and the researchers are usually practice-oriented. In these contexts, based on the textual analyses of the articles on four top scholarly journals, the articulations of the active/passive, micro/macro and public/private dimensions of 'new media audience' are closely examined. Following the principle of grounded theory methodology, the textual analyses of this study attempt to generate the core categories of new media audience as active user/consumer, networked citizen/public, and popular virtual community, and finally draw a theoretical picture of a 'new-mediated public sphere'. The findings are twofold: on the one hand, because of their practice-orientation, when facing with a changing new media environment, Chinese researchers provided little contribution to theoretical innovations; on the other hand, the active, social and public directions indeed have some significant implications for understanding the identities of Chinese new media audiences, and the tension between 'regulation' and 'participation' in a transforming society is worth specific attention. Concerning the picture of a 'new-mediated public sphere' and its components, it is my contentions that: 1) The research of 'active user/consumer' needs more diverse and deeper theoretical-orientation enquiry, focusing on the property of participation and interaction of new media user, meanwhile avoid leaning to 'one-dimensional' consumer in market circumstance. 2) The research of 'networked citizen/public' needs not only normative, democratic imagination, but also empirical inquiry into the approaches, characteristics and limitation of networked social actions. At this point, the works by some overseas Chinese researches, especially those inspired by Manuel Castells' network society theory, can be seen as illuminative models. 3) The research of 'popular virtual community' also needs more 'thick description' in the aspect of constructing cultural public sphere, since it not only embraces various interpersonal performance and self-identity construction, but also have the potential of counter-hegemonic struggle in the virtual space. This article also contends that 'new (mediated) public sphere' can not be tread as a grand but empty label, rather, it need to be grounded with the specific participatory activity of 'audiences'. However, the articulation of 'audience' can be diverse in different societal contexts; therefore, it would be hard to find a universal model concerning the new media audience and new public sphere.
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Dates et versions

hal-00840645 , version 1 (02-07-2013)


  • HAL Id : hal-00840645 , version 1


Xu Guiquan. Articulating a new mediated public sphere ? A discourse-theoretical analysis to new media audience studies in china mainland (2000-2010). Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. ⟨hal-00840645⟩


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