Shifting Dynamics of Contention in the Digital Age: Mobile Communication and Politics in China
Jun Liu, Oxford University Press, 2020
Over the past decades, waves of political contention involving the use of information and communication technologies have swept across the globe. The phenomenon stimulates the scholarship on digital communication technologies and contentious collective action to thrive as an exciting, relevant, but highly fragmentary and contested field with disciplinary boundaries. To advance interdisciplinary understanding, "Shifting Dynamics of Contention in the Digital Age" outlines a communication-centered framework that articulates the intricate relationship between technology, communication, and contention. It systematically explores the influence of mobile technology on political contention in China, the country with the world's largest number of mobile and internet users. Using first-hand in-depth interview and fieldwork data, "Shifting Dynamics of Contention in the Digital Age" tracks the strategic choice of mobile phones as repertoires of contention, illustrates the effective mobilization of mobile communication on the basis of its strong and reciprocal social ties, and identifies the communicative practice of forwarding officially alleged "rumors" as a form of everyday resistance. Through this groundbreaking study, "Shifting Dynamics of Contention in the Digital Age" presents a nuanced portrayal of an emerging dynamics of contention—both its strengths and limitations- through the embedding of mobile communication into Chinese society and politics.
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Jun Liu is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Copenhagen.