Mapping Cantonese: The Pro-Cantonese Protest and Sina Weibo in Guangzhou
This chapter explores the reproduction of Guangzhou’s local identity during the pro-Cantonese protest in 2010 on Sina Weibo, one of the most popular social media platforms in China. Specifically, the chapter posits that Cantonese is one of Guangzhouers’ bodily doings and Weibo is also part of the Guangzhou body. Henceforth, Cantonese was not merely the source of contention, but the local language enabled the reconfiguration of the local subjectivity through the practices of digital place remaking. By examining the collected Weibo data during the protest, it is found that Cantonese facilitated a series of cultural practices and physical doings on Weibo that enhanced the spatial mobility of the Guangzhou body during the protest. The intertwining between Cantonese and Weibo emancipated the Guangzhou’s body from the cultural authorities of the Chinese state by allowing it to reproduce and reassert its locality and individuality. Cantonese, the Guangzhou city, and Weibo were co-constitutive in configuring the spatial mobility of the Guangzhou body, allowing it to be simultaneously presenting within the virtual and physical worlds and transiting between the social and cultural spaces of Guangzhou and Hong Kong. This chapter has the potential to contribute to our knowledge of digital media and society by connecting geo-lingual research with those studies of digital media culture and politics.
KeywordsCantonese Geo-identity Guangzhou Sina Weibo Spatial mobility
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