Digital activism in the networked age: the case of #MeToo movement in China

  • Mengyu Li

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Digital activism is an increasingly popular field in academia. However, scarce attention has been paid to the process of cultural and political mediation that have shaped different examples of the contents of digital activism as well as the character of actors who collectively utilize this instrument and also personally respond to the specific context in which digital activism emerges and evolves. This study investigates the #MeToo movement in the context of China as a concrete example of digital activism in a manner that ascribes attention to both digital technologies and activist practices. With regard to the practices of social movement, this study aims to capture the discursive processes that enable different actors to be recognized and make sense of themselves in public in the #MeToo movement in China. From the digital perspective, this study attempts to identify the characteristics of activists who participated in China's #MeToo movement. This study combined content analysis and discourse analysis with social network analysis to analyze the process and discourses on the #Metoo movement in China and examined the characteristics of actors who contributed to the promotion of the #MeToo movement on a networked public space. Following the three-stage model of social drama, five themes were identified in the narrative form of China's version of the #MeToo movement. This study also found that advocates and opponents of the #MeToo movement achieved their narrative agencies through the intersection of gender, sexuality, class, and culture in the Chinese sociocultural context. Finally, this study revealed that the expressive repertoires manifested in the reposting network of China's #MeToo and testified that homophily could exist between pairs of Weibo users along with similar attributes including gender, location, and engagement

Date of Award28 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorCeline SONG (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • MeToo movement
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual abuse victims
  • Social media
  • Online social networks

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