The Fudan Centre is proud to announce that Assistant Professor Jun Liu from University of Copenhagen, who researches in political communication, digital activism, social theory and political sociology in a Chinese context, will be holding a lunch seminar on the 2nd of March at NIAS. The topic of discussion will be Communicating Beyond Information: Mobile communication and mobilization to offline protests in China. There will be chance for discussion and questions.
Tea and coffee will be served.
Venue: Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353, Copenhagen K, Denmark, room 18.1.18 (NIAS meeting room).
Time: 2nd of March, 2015. 12.00-13.00
The past decade has seen an increase in the use of the mobile phone as a facilitator for political protests. Yet, to date, how the use of mobile phones affects participation in protests remains unclear. This study employs the distinction between communication and meta-communication to investigate the informational and relational dimensions of the mobile phone in protest mobilization in four cases in China. By drawing upon fifty-three in-depth interviews, the results reveal that, in addition to communicating mobilizing information, participants meta-communicate their mutual relationships via mobile phones in the mobilization process, and this shapes the practice of information exchange and the interpretation of information. As the pivotal driving force for protest participation, this meta-communication embodies multiple dimensions (e.g. reliability, reciprocity, and obligation) that intervene at different moments in the process of mobilization and that induce people to become involved in contentious activities. Nevertheless, the relationship-oriented meta-communication also restricts the long-running impact of mobile phone-mediated protest participation and mobilization on China’s contentious politics.