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The Construction of Nationalism in Chinese Media Events in the Reform Era

On 12 May 2022 Qiaoqi Zhang successfully defended a doctoral thesis and graduated.

Q. Zhang
12 May 2022
Leiden Repository

This dissertation studies the construction of Chinese nationalism by the Chinese government and media companies through mass communication of government-staged and abrupt events in the reform era between 2008 and 2012. It examines how Chinese audiences express online nationalist sentiments, representing whether the communication of media events meets the social demands established by “dream discourses.” Using mixed qualitative and quantitative methods, it focuses on two case studies: the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands incident. The dissertation finds that these mass media events play a significant role in shaping Chinese state nationalism and popular nationalism. The related mass communication helps the Chinese government increase or, at least, maintain its legitimacy through various strategies. The findings of this dissertation also show that as Chinese audiences have increasingly voiced themselves in the information age, the government will keep treating the robust, uneasy entanglement of nationalism, globalization, and digital media more cautiously for its social development and stability.

Promotor: prof. dr. S.R. Landsberger
Co-supervisor: dr. F.A. Schneider

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