Curating a Scopic Contact Zone: Short Video, Rural Performativity, and the Mediatization of Socio-Spatial Order in China

Sheng Zou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

With the promulgation of the “rural revitalization” initiative, China has been promoting the marriage between technology and rurality to chart a digital future for what is christened “a new countryside.” Rural revitalization is not simply a socio-economic project but a profoundly ideological one, which choreographs a socio-spatial order, fashions an aspirational rural subjectivity, and realigns imaginaries of rurality. This article examines the role of short video in fostering an emergent rural performativity in line with official ideology through idyll-icized displays of rural lifestyles and landscapes, which are loaded with affective and ideological connotations. A scopic contact zone is thus carved out between rural vloggers and urban viewers, one characterized by mutual appropriation and strategic differentiation. This article foregrounds the limitations of this urban-rural contact zone and its immanent “cruel optimism,” while advocating a kind of radical utopia to enable imaginations of the alternative futures of digital rurality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-470
Number of pages19
JournalTelevision and New Media
Volume24
Issue number4
Early online date17 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

User-Defined Keywords

  • contact zone
  • digital rurality
  • mediatization
  • rural performativity
  • short video
  • socio-spatial order

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