This study investigates the real and potential functions of English media in the milieu of social openness in post–Mao China. The unique position of China’s English media reflects key characteristics of a ‘hybridized discourse’ and a style of reporting which seems both keen to control and eager to please. Three socio–political functions emerge from this mixed product. Consensual functions denote conformity to official ideology, with the media assuming the double role of political advocates and economic ‘boosters’. Conflictual functions, on the other hand, enable the media to promote cosmopolitan worldviews, pluralistic opinions, and occasionally alternative voices. Somewhere in the middle of the two opposing platforms are the Instrumental functions that emphasize media’s role as an information conduit, a language–learning tool, and a professional role model. This article examines the varying degrees to which China’s English media perform all three sets of functions, identifies conditions and timing for selective emphasis, and discusses the social and theoretical implications of studying the English media’s functions.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Sociology and Political Science
- Linguistics and Language