People, propaganda and profit: Understanding media in China
The aim of this course is to understand China’s changing media landscape in post 1978 reform period. The course surveys the historical roots of mass propaganda in the Chinese media during the Mao Era, analyzing the political, social and cultural dimensions of their developments. This will be followed by an in-depth look at how Deng’s market liberalization policies have infused profit making mechanisms that reshaped media practices within the context of continued government control. Specific examples will be used to illustrate how the emergence of new media technology enabled the voice of the people to be heard, enabling new facets of the media’s role as a communication vehicle. Using the “people, propaganda, and profit” framework throughout the semester, the course will examine the implications of shifting relations between the state, society, and the market on cultural or media production and reception.
This course utilizes media studies and sociology theories and engages students in a cross-disciplinary investigation on the social implications of the changing media environment in China. By analyzing various forms of media and communication, including newspapers, television, film, advertising, the arts, and new media, this course examines the subtleties and dynamic interplay of evolving social, political, and economic forces and their prospects for the transformation of mass media and culture in China.
Course learning outcomes
- Identify and describe major factors that transformed China’s media from a vehicle of mass propaganda to mass communication.
- Assess the limitations of unfettered media commercialization and profit making within continued Party ideological domination.
- Describe the emerging of the people’s voice via the rise of new media, other diverse media and popular culture forms and analyze its contribution to the development of China’s nascent civil society.
- Critically analyze the on-going debate concerning media autonomy and Party control by applying various media studies and sociology theories covered.
|Activities||Number of Hours|
|Reading / self-study||26|
|Assessment: Essay / Report writing||50|
|Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation)||20|
|Tutorial presentation and participation||30%|
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Cheek, T. (2006). Living with reform: China since 1989. Zed Books.
Goldstein, A., & Yang, G. (2016). The Internet, social media, and a changing China. University of Pennsylvania Press. [HKU e-book]
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