Digital Transnationalism

Chinese-Language Media in Australia


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This is the first book in English on Chinese-language digital media in Australia. The book comes at a time when the relationship between China and the West is at its most troubling since the end of the Cold War. Combining rich ethnographic insights with dispassionate analysis, this investigation into Australia’s Chinese-language digital and social media sheds new light on how migrants from the People’s Republic of China negotiate two media, cultural and political systems. The book is a timely antidote to the polarized and often simplistic positions that dominate ongoing debates about the Chinese diaspora and diasporic media, and injects much-needed nuance into analyses of the changing face of Chinese transnationalism.

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Wanning Sun is Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She is a Fellow of Australian Academy of Humanities (FAHA). She is a member of the College of Experts, Australian Research Council (2020-2022). Wanning is an internationally recognised leading scholar on soft power, public diplomacy and diasporic Chinese media. She has spear-headed the diasporic Chinese media as a field of scholarly research, and she is also known for her work on rural to urban migration and social change in contemporary China. Wanning is the author of a major report Chinese-Language Media in Australia: Developments, Challenges and Opportunities (2016). She is the Chief Investigator in an Australian Research Council Discovery Project Chinese-Language Digital/Social Media in Australia: Rethinking Soft Power (2018-2020).

Haiqing Yu is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor of Media and Communication at RMIT University, Australia. She is a critical media studies scholar with expertise on Chinese digital media, technologies and culture and their sociopolitical impact in China, Australia and the Asia Pacific. Her current projects examine the social implications of China’s social credit system, technological innovation, and digital transformation; China’s digital presence in Australasia; and Chinese-language digital/social media in Australia.
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Introduction:A New Direction in Global Chinese Studies?
 1 Between Diaspora Identity and Citizenship: Social Capital in Transnational Space
 2 Place-Making, Flexible Citizens, and the Reality of Living “In Between”
 3 Soft Power and Diaspora Diplomacy
 4 Digital Diaspora and Transnational Place-Making
 5 Australia: A Country-Specific Approach
 6 Chinese-Language Media as an Instrument of Chinese Influence?
 7 Methods and Approach
 8 Chapters

1 Media, Migration, and the New Chinese Diaspora:History, Politics, and Context
 1 History of Earlier Chinese Migration
 2 New Migrants from the PRC
 3 “New New” Migrants from the PRC
 4 Changing Demographic Patterns and Characteristics
 5 Changing Political Climate
 6 Chinese-Language Media in Australia

2 WeChat Subscription Accounts:Regulation, Business Model, and Institutional Context
 1 WeChat and WeChat Subscription Accounts
 2 The Political and Economic Context
 3 Typology of WSA s and Their Regulatory Framework
 4 Top Fifty WSA s in Australia:A Collective Portrait
 5 Beyond a Simplistic Notion of Control:Conclusion

3 Production and Consumption of News on WeChat:Platform, Market, and Readers
 1 Methods
 2 Top Ten WSA s:Typology of Content and Style
 3 Case Studies:Hong Kong Protests and Horton Versus Sun
 4 Cultural Production of News on WeChat
 5 Conclusion

4 Content Flow, Cultural Brokering, and the Identity of In-betweenness:The Case ofSydney Today
 1 Content:Where, What, and Which Sources?
 2 Ethno-Transnational Media between Host Country and Motherland: The Politics of Content Flow
 3 The Chinese-Language Media In Between
 4 Narrative Analysis of Sydney Today Stories
 5 Editors as Content Brokers
 6 Cultural Brokering and a New “In-Between” Identity Politics:A Conclusion

5 Self-Making through Self-Media:New Opinion Brokers in Transnational Space
 1 Key Issues Pertaining to Self-Media
 2 Cultural Economy of the Chinese Self-Media Industry
 3 Chinese Content Entrepreneurs in Australia:Case Studies
 4 Discussion: Self-Media Operators as Information and Opinion Brokers
 5 Conclusion

6 Mobility and Micro-Entrepreneurship:Daigou as Transnational Subjects
 1 Researching Daigou: A Note on Methods
 2 Daigou in Australian Metropolitan Centers
 3 Chinese Social Commerce Platforms and the Network of Networks
 4 Chinese Micro-Entrepreneurial Mobility
 5 Conclusion

7 Becoming Active Citizens:The Australian Federal Election and Civic Education
 1 Approaching WeChat as a New Civic Space
 2 Negotiating Boundaries and Performing Digital Acts
 3 Exemplary Citizens
 4 Discussion and Conclusion

8 Negotiating Flexibility:COVID-19 and the New Politics of Transnationalism
 1 Transnational Migrants and Citizenship Engagement
 2 COVID-19: From China to Australia:Timeline and Context
 3 Active Citizens or Still Too Chinese?
 4 Learning about Rights and Duties as Citizens
 5 Selfish Flexible Citizenship?
 6 Altruistic Flexible Citizenship?
 7 Between a Rock and a Hard Place
 8 Conclusion

Conclusion:Toward a New Transnational Subject

The primary market includes undergraduates, graduates and academics from several abovementioned disciplines, and many others working in the the above-mentioned additional research fields in the global West and China. This book will be of particular relevance and significance as either a textbook or secondary reading across two broad areas: (1) migration, diaspora, ethnicities/races and multiculturalism; and (2) media, communication, digital and social media studies, journalism and cultural studies. It will also be valuable for more specialised area studies subjects such as Chinese cultures and societies, contemporary China studies, Chinese politics, and media and communication in China and Asia.

The secondary market should also be big, because the book deals with a set of timely issues that are closely related to a fast changing geopolitical dynamics. It should appeal to a wide readership beyond academia, including journalists, educators, analysts, strategists, policy-makers and advisers, politicians and political activists and campaigners, evan powners and operators of sizable electonic commece in all English-speaking countries as well as countries which use English for academic purposes (e.g. Europe and China).
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