Media events or media stories?: Time, space and Chinese (trans)nationalism

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Journal Article
International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2001, 4 (1), pp. 25 - 43
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Taking Dayan and Katz's argument of media event as the point of departure, I want to not only assess the relevance of media event theory to a non liberal-democratic media system such as China but, more importantly, to argue that ‘media events’ need to be studied in juxtaposition to what I refer to as ‘media stories’ in order to yield insight into the complexity and ambiguity of the Chinese mediasphere. I show that whereas media events are about spectacles, official time and grand history, media stories are mostly about everyday life, unofficial time and individual memory. I argue that the co-existence of conflicting temporalities between the official media and commercial media contributes to a process of fragmentation and dispersal of a sense of national space and time. I further argue that although media events and media stories perform different spatial-temporal duties and functions in the way in which the nation is imagined, there is a complicity between nationalist discourses and transnational processes in contemporary China. © 2001, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.
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