Governance and Dissidence in Online Culture in China: The Case of Anti-CNN and Online Gaming

Theory, Culture and Society 30 (5):70-93 (2013)
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Abstract

The article explores two different articulations of the attitudes of young Chinese netizens towards the state: the neo-nationalist web community, ‘Anti-CNN.com’/‘April Youth’, and the online ‘machinema’ film, ‘Online Gaming Addicts’ War’. Both of these online practices are associated with the post-’80 s generation, which I argue is a key constituency in contemporary Chinese internet discourse. Through these case studies, the article explores the viability of recent attempts to apply Foucauldian theories of governmentality to the case of China. It identifies a determining factor here in the recurring tendency of the Party-state, whilst generally attempting to embrace more sophisticated forms of governance, to default towards crude techniques and technologies of prohibition in its regulatory stance towards the internet. Whilst this stance is likely to be unsustainable in view of the dynamics of global media culture, the article argues that this does not undermine claims over the existence of a distinctive Chinese form of governmentality. Rather, the Chinese case should strengthen doubts over the view of some that governmentality is incompatible with the state’s deployment of violence.

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