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Chinese New Media Cultures in Transition

Weibo and the Carnivalesque

Minghua Wu

Chinese New Media Cultures in Transition: Weibo and the Carnivalesque is an important contribution to international scholarship on Chinese social media and its role in empowering ordinary Chinese netizens to challenge and influence government and mainstream media policies and practices in ways not possible prior to the widespread availability of digital media. This book develops a new model for understanding Chinese netizens’ model of participation in online discussions—Carnivalesque Participatory Discourse—that integrates Bakhtin’s concept of Carnivalesque discourse with concepts drawn from the Chinese cultural context, Weiguan and Meizhi. The model is then applied to case studies of three different major social media events in China, illustrating the usefulness of the model and illuminating scholarly understanding of the features and social-political significance of Chinese online discourse. Chinese New Media Cultures in Transition demonstrates that participating in online discourse and communities in China that are not explicitly political but are playful and humorous can lead to citizen empowerment.