Communicating citizenship in China’s digital society

Xiong, Bingjuan (2019) Communicating citizenship in China’s digital society. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 12 (2). pp. 128-145. ISSN 1751-3057

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This research explores the (inter-) cultural dimension of communicating citizenship in China’s new media environment. It adopts speech codes theory as a theoretical and methodological framework to examine the historically situated and socially constructed meanings of citizenship and the normative communicative conduct for practicing “good citizenship” in China. Through a systematic analysis of Chinese online discourse surrounding two social events, this study captures one speech code pertaining to communicating citizenship that is premised on a paradox–citizenship is interpreted by the Chinese as a legal entitlement that they deserve, but it is simultaneously treated as an aspirational and unattainable ideal. Additionally, speaking sensibly and morally with a communal orientation is heavily emphasized in this speech code as it is considered a valuable communicative practice for performing “good citizenship.” Finally, participating in online collective actions such as “topping posts” is rendered an acceptable and effective way to communicate and enact citizen rights in China.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of International and Intercultural Communication on 27/02/2019, available online:
Keywords: Citizenship, speech codes, online discourse, Chinese Internet
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham Ningbo China > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of English
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Zhou, Elsie
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2019 01:01
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2020 04:30

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