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The Power of the Internet in China (Contemporary Asia in the World) [Paperback]

Guobin Yang
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 16.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Jan 2011 0231144210 978-0231144216 Reprint
Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has revolutionized popular expression in China, enabling users to organize, protest, and influence public opinion in unprecedented ways. Guobin Yang's pioneering study maps an innovative range of contentious forms and practices linked to Chinese cyberspace, delineating a nuanced and dynamic image of the Chinese Internet as an arena for creativity, community, conflict, and control. Like many other contemporary protest forms in China and the world, Yang argues, Chinese online activism derives its methods and vitality from multiple and intersecting forces, and state efforts to constrain it have only led to more creative acts of subversion. Transnationalism and the tradition of protest in China's incipient civil society provide cultural and social resources to online activism. Even Internet businesses have encouraged contentious activities, generating an unusual synergy between commerce and activism. Yang's book weaves these strands together to create a vivid story of immense social change, indicating a new era of informational politics.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Reprint edition (28 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231144210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231144216
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 289,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


A boundary-breaking book... A snap review of some of the hottest issues in front of the Chinese public today. -- Daniel Little Understanding Society 8/4/09 Mr. Yang's work is essential reading. -- Rebecca MacKinnon Far Eastern Economic Review 9/4/09 This work represents a major advancement in scholarly research... unquestionably, it should be on reading lists for courses related to social and political development in China... it is highly recommended to all. -- Jonathan Sullivan The China Quarterly March 2010 Of interest to sociologists and students of mass communications... Recommended. Choice 1/1/10 Essential reading for all those seeking a more nuanced account of the power of the internet in China than that provided by international media and human rights organizations. -- Colin Hawes The China Journal 7/1/10 Yang develops a lens that centers on concrete issues and situations that are both empirical-practical and conceptual-theoretical. -- Peter Marolt International Journal of Communication Vol 4, 2010 The Power of the Internet in China by Yang Guobin is destined to be classic and obligatory reading for anyone interested in understanding the role of the internet in people's struggle for freedom, justice, and democracy in China. -- Lokman Tsui China Information Vol 24, No 2 The Power of the Internet in China offers us not only a rich study of Chineseonline activism but also raises significant questions about China's civil society. -- Ming-Cheng Miriam Lo Contemporary Sociology Vol 39, No 2

About the Author

Guobin Yang is an associate professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College, Columbia University. He is coeditor, with Ching Kwan Lee, of Re-envisioning the Chinese Revolution: The Politics and Poetics of Collective Memories in Reform China.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed study of the Chinese internet 9 April 2010
What in my eyes make Guobin Yangs book special, is that he analyses the Chinese internet aktivism from several angles, and how these interact. This analytical approach gives a broad insight in the past, present and future development of internet ativism in China. His use of different theoretical frameworks in his analyze is impressing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sociologist's view of Internet use 27 Sep 2009
By Andrew D. Oram - Published on
Covers the historical and
cultural context as much as the political context. There's some
valuable original research, as well as summaries of other people's
observations, but the book is is more useful as a starting point for
discussion than an authority to resolve debates. Topics include the
cat-and-mouse games played by protesters and the state, historical
offline precedents for online action, data about Internet use by civic
organizations, the relationship between expression and Internet
businesses, and international contacts. I enjoyed this book for both
the facts Yang offered and the window he opened into a culture I know
very little about but that I'm sure will come to have a bigger and
bigger impact on my life.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars solid research on an important social trend 5 July 2011
By suburban dissident - Published on
Coming in the midst of a rush of books on the subject (cf. Zixue Tai's The Internet in China: Cyberspace and Civil Society (Routledge Studies in New Media and Cyberculture), Zhou Yongming's Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China and Yongnian Zheng's Technological Empowerment: The Internet, State, and Society in China), Guobin Yang's book on marshals an impressive body of research on the growing importance as well as unique forms and uses of the internet as a tool for social movements in China. While descriptively powerful - and therefore very useful/insightful for any China scholar - Yang comes up short, analytically, in pressing further our knowledge about the structure and function of the internet as a social movement tool.

One key benefit of Yang's work is the sheer scope that he is able to cover, particularly in regards to the history of the internet in China. His analysis includes both the more recent and heavily covered cases of net based social movements, but he also has data going back all the way to more protean forms of digital interaction in China. Another beneficial part of his analysis is the detailed account of specific forms of discourse and contention that are unique to the Chinese digital landscape.

Theoretically, there isn't much new here as regards the role of the internet in society. Yang's book falls, theoretically, into the "more of the same" assessments of the internet: it enhances, speeds up, and more extensively connects people in society. The Net is then faster, farther, stronger than offline life, but little different in quality.

Altogether, Yang makes a useful contribution to both the study of modern Chinese society and the relationship between the Internet and social movements.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of the Internet in china 6 Aug 2013
By Catzim - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thorough and superb analysis and explanation of how the burgeoning use of the Internet by civic associations in China is bringing a new hopeful and world view for Chinese throughout the country. Guobin is a brilliant scholar and thoroughly demonstrates the powerful changes in open-minded thought, made possible by Chinese citizens iin-country and working and studying abroad.
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