Streaming Publicness: Emerging Conjunctions Across Digital Media Platforms in Contemporary China (2014-2019)

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Streaming Publicness: Emerging Conjunctions Across Digital Media Platforms in Contemporary China (2014-2019)
Stream: Sociology
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Wenting Wang, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), France (organizer, presenter)
Jing Zhang, Communication University of Zhejiang, China (presenter)
Lu Xu, Paris-Diderot University, France (presenter)
Seio Nakajima, Waseda University, Japan (chair, discussant)


This panel develops “streaming publicness” as a framework to study the social conjunctions emerging from the production, circulation and regulation of digital media objects within more general juridical, economic, and political contexts. China’s rapid development in internet communication technology and the widespread proliferation of mobile devices means that different social groups are growingly interconnected within a common digital network. The newest changes in media and communication infrastructure, which are featured by instant interaction designs and lively-quantified visibility, not only structure new public platforms and new ways of social integrations, but also induce all social agencies, old or new entrants into the system, to co-cultivate a more interactive and gradated vision of publicness. Rather than falling into a “technological determinism”, and thus denying human capacity and responsibility for changes, we argue that the digital media platforms are deeply implicated in social processes of emerging interdependencies and contradictions.
From different disciplinary perspectives ranging from media studies, sociology, to political economy, three panelists exchange ideas about the tensions between professionalization and popularization, new agencies of the producers and the audience as well as the transformative role played by digital media. Discussion Topics include online debates on public-private boundaries, legal knowledge and the meanings of entertainment across communities; governmental cultural policy of online entertainment content produced by private streaming video platforms; and young documentarians’ intent on newest digital equipment and close interaction with targeted audiences.