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postgraduate thesis: Dancing to the tunes : the state and the market in cyber-to-physical mobilisation in contemporary China

TitleDancing to the tunes : the state and the market in cyber-to-physical mobilisation in contemporary China
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Chan, CSC
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Deng, X. [鄧西里]. (2013). Dancing to the tunes : the state and the market in cyber-to-physical mobilisation in contemporary China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5194745
AbstractSituated in the contemporary debate over the implications of the Internet to the contentious politics and authoritarian states, this study is an empirical investigation into the mechanism and the determinants of cyber-to-physical mobilisation in contemporary China. This research compares the mobilization processes of the two cyber-contentious episodes in China, namely the Xiamen PX Event in 2007 and the Sanlu Milk Scandal in 2008. It is grounded on a two-year cyber-ethnographic investigation and in-depth interviews with 14 people differently involved in the respective cyber-contentious episodes. In order to find out why some contentious activities are able to transform into street protests while others of similar nature are contained or even vanish in the cyberspace, this study examines the interactions between the four stakeholders in each contentious episode (i.e., the cyber-protesters, the media, the state power, and the market forces). It highlights the importance of the state power and the market forces in cyber-to-physical mobilisation, and determines the conditions under which cyber-to-physical mobilisation is feasible. This thesis elucidates how the state power and the market forces collectively condition cyber-to-physical mobilisation through the media (both the print and the digital media). The entire mechanism is powered by the tensions between cyber-protesters, the media, the state power and the market forces. The media framing of an incident influences the grievance formation of cyber-protesters, which further determines cyber-to-physical mobilisation. Thus, by manipulating the media framing, the state power or the market forces may control cyber-to-physical mobilisation, although it is not always a success. Based on the mechanism for cyber-to-physical mobilisation, this thesis further ascertains the conditions for cyber-to-physical mobilisation. The two contentious episodes show that cyber-to-physical mobilisation is prohibited when the respective core interests of the state power and the market forces are in complete unity (i.e., national mobilisation and industrial damage are eminent). On the contrary, if cyber-to-physical mobilisation merely triggers controllable regional mobilisation, the state will tolerate it; and if cyber-tophysical mobilisation only costs limited corporate damage, the market forces will allow it. Under such circumstances, cyber-to-physical mobilisation is possible.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectSocial movements - China
Internet and activism - China
Dept/ProgramSociology
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197551

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorChan, CSC-
dc.contributor.authorDeng, Xili-
dc.contributor.author鄧西里-
dc.date.accessioned2014-05-27T23:16:43Z-
dc.date.available2014-05-27T23:16:43Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationDeng, X. [鄧西里]. (2013). Dancing to the tunes : the state and the market in cyber-to-physical mobilisation in contemporary China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5194745-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197551-
dc.description.abstractSituated in the contemporary debate over the implications of the Internet to the contentious politics and authoritarian states, this study is an empirical investigation into the mechanism and the determinants of cyber-to-physical mobilisation in contemporary China. This research compares the mobilization processes of the two cyber-contentious episodes in China, namely the Xiamen PX Event in 2007 and the Sanlu Milk Scandal in 2008. It is grounded on a two-year cyber-ethnographic investigation and in-depth interviews with 14 people differently involved in the respective cyber-contentious episodes. In order to find out why some contentious activities are able to transform into street protests while others of similar nature are contained or even vanish in the cyberspace, this study examines the interactions between the four stakeholders in each contentious episode (i.e., the cyber-protesters, the media, the state power, and the market forces). It highlights the importance of the state power and the market forces in cyber-to-physical mobilisation, and determines the conditions under which cyber-to-physical mobilisation is feasible. This thesis elucidates how the state power and the market forces collectively condition cyber-to-physical mobilisation through the media (both the print and the digital media). The entire mechanism is powered by the tensions between cyber-protesters, the media, the state power and the market forces. The media framing of an incident influences the grievance formation of cyber-protesters, which further determines cyber-to-physical mobilisation. Thus, by manipulating the media framing, the state power or the market forces may control cyber-to-physical mobilisation, although it is not always a success. Based on the mechanism for cyber-to-physical mobilisation, this thesis further ascertains the conditions for cyber-to-physical mobilisation. The two contentious episodes show that cyber-to-physical mobilisation is prohibited when the respective core interests of the state power and the market forces are in complete unity (i.e., national mobilisation and industrial damage are eminent). On the contrary, if cyber-to-physical mobilisation merely triggers controllable regional mobilisation, the state will tolerate it; and if cyber-tophysical mobilisation only costs limited corporate damage, the market forces will allow it. Under such circumstances, cyber-to-physical mobilisation is possible.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshSocial movements - China-
dc.subject.lcshInternet and activism - China-
dc.titleDancing to the tunes : the state and the market in cyber-to-physical mobilisation in contemporary China-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5194745-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineSociology-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5194745-

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