After the Internet, Before Democracy

Competing Norms in Chinese Media and Society

by Johan Lagerkvist (Author)
Monographs 325 Pages


China has lived with the Internet for nearly two decades. Will increased Internet use, with new possibilities to share information and discuss news and politics, lead to democracy, or will it to the contrary sustain a nationalist supported authoritarianism that may eventually contest the global information order?
This book takes stock of the ongoing tug of war between state power and civil society on and off the Internet, a phenomenon that is fast becoming the centerpiece in the Chinese Communist Party’s struggle to stay in power indefinitely. It interrogates the dynamics of this enduring contestation, before democracy, by following how Chinese society travels from getting access to the Internet to our time having the world’s largest Internet population. Pursuing the rationale of Internet regulation, the rise of the Chinese blogosphere and citizen journalism, Internet irony, online propaganda, the relation between state and popular nationalism, and finally the role of social media to bring about China’s democratization, this book offers a fresh and provocative perspective on the arguable role of media technologies in the process of democratization, by applying social norm theory to illuminate the competition between the Party-state norm and the youth/subaltern norm in Chinese media and society.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2011 (September)
East Asia Use of Media in Government, Politics, Church, Society etc. Development, Questions, Problems Use of Media in Government Politics Church Society etc. Development Questions Problems Journalism
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2010. 325 pp., num. tables and graphs

Biographical notes

Johan Lagerkvist (Author)

Johan Lagerkvist holds a PhD in Chinese from Lund University. He is a senior research fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs in Stockholm.


Title: After the Internet, Before Democracy