From poisonous weeds to endangered species: Shenghuo TV, media ecology and stability maintenance

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 2015, 44 (2), pp. 17 - 37
Issue Date:
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© 2015, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies. All rights reserved. The most common framework through which we understand media communication and political/social stability in China is that of hegemony and control. This characterization may have served us well in documenting how the mandate for stability often results in censorship, regulation and restriction, but it has two major faults: First, the focus on crackdowns, bans and censorship usually tells us something about what the party-state does not like, but does not convey much about what it does like. Second, it often obscures the routine ways the party-state and the market work together to shore up ideological domination and maintain stability. In this analysis of the policies, economics and content of a broad range of television programmes, I suggest that we look at the media and communication as an ideological-ecological system in order to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between China’s media practices and its ongoing objectives.
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