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Prefigurative Politics in Chinese Young People’s Online Social Participation

Part of the Perspectives on Children and Young People book series (PCYP,volume 6)

Abstract

It is widely argued that young people’s civic and political participation has transformed from formal politics to an individualized, local, and action oriented form. The advancement of digital media along with this transformation has made online space a major venue where young people can practice new forms of politics. Recent studies have documented a broad range of civic and political activities which are collectively shaped by the changing sociopolitical situation, the dynamic digital media landscape, and young people’s flexible usage of digital media. This chapter contributes to this body of literature by exploring the everyday civic and political activities of Chinese urban youth on social media. It draws on the qualitative data collected from the observation of the social media homepages of 31 young Chinese and interviews asking about their social media activities. Using the concepts of prefigurative politics, I analyzed their strategy of civic and political engagement in bring about social change. I also developed an understanding of their adoption of this strategy in current Chinese society.

Keywords

  • Prefigurative politics
  • China
  • Young people
  • Online
  • Social participation

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The city tier system is a way to divide cities in China into specific categories to document consumer behavior, income levels, and local trends. The system is based on a series of indices, such as population size and the scale of Gross Domestic Product of a city. The use of this system was started by the private sector and there is no official list so far. Note reference: http://www.sinostep.com/all-you-need-to-know-about-china-city-tiers/, accessed July 18, 2016.

  2. 2.

    Fuyun, literally meaning floating cloud, is a popular expression in the internet lexicon in China, usually used to describe things people chase which are actually meaningless or unreachable.

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Fu, J. (2019). Prefigurative Politics in Chinese Young People’s Online Social Participation. In: Cuervo, H., Miranda, A. (eds) Youth, Inequality and Social Change in the Global South. Perspectives on Children and Young People, vol 6. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-3750-5_17

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-3750-5_17

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