The role of digital media in China: participation in an unlikely place

Wan Ying Lin, Xinzhi Zhang

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

This chapter reviews research on how individuals participate in different modes of political engagement through digital media in China, where channels for conventional political participation are restricted and information online is censored. In China, where the authorities have ardently defended the status quo and opposed conventional political actions, especially protests and elite-challenging actions, research should focus on more nuanced political beliefs, behaviour and outcomes, as more conventional digital political actions are less likely. The chapter suggests some promising lines of inquiry, and raises methodological considerations. Given the sensitivity of politics in China, a mixed-methods approach is more likely to be of value than traditional survey research, for example. By combining panel surveys, experimental designs and computational methods (that is, big data analytics, large-scale text processing, social network analysis, online field experiments and agent-based modelling) it is possible to address some of the barriers to traditional surveys, where respondents may generate socially desirable answers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Research Agenda for Digital Politics
EditorsWilliam H. Dutton
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Chapter7
Pages72–82
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781789903096
ISBN (Print)9781789903089
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

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