Internet Culture and Politics in China – Guobin Yang


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By University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Contemporary China and University of Pennsylvania. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Current headlines about how authoritarian regimes have come to harness and even weaponize the internet may obscure how this technology, at one time, was more typically understood to be a democratizing force, across a range of different contexts. In the early days of Chinese cyberspace, for example, popular expression on various internet forums seemed to herald a new stage in political activism, that was pressing the boundaries of traditional state control. In this episode, University of Pennsylvania Professor Guobin Yang, the preeminent scholar of the sociology of the internet in China, discusses with Neysun Mahboubi the evolution of social media platforms on the Chinese internet, over the past 20 years, and their changing political implications. The episode was recorded on March 1, 2018.

Guobin Yang is the Grace Lee Boggs Professor of Communication and Sociology at the Annenberg School for Communication and the Department of Sociology, at the University of Pennsylvania. His research generally covers social movements, cultural sociology, political sociology, digital media, global communication, and modern China. His prolific scholarship includes the classic "The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online" (2009) and, more recently, "The Red Guard Generation and Political Activism in China" (2016). He is the editor or co-editor of four additional books which explore similar themes. He is also active on social media, and tweets at @Yangguobin.

Music credit: "Salt" by Poppy Ackroyd, follow her at

Special thanks to Nick Marziani and Alex Schein

23 episodes