Vortrag "China’s 'Rural Guardians': Platformization of a rural development campaign" von Elena Meyer-Clement und Antonie Angerer
News vom 28.11.2023
Im Rahmen der Jahrestagung des Arbeitskreises Sozialwissenschaftliche Chinaforschung (ASC) vom 23.-24.11.2023 nahm das Worldmaking-Projekt Social Worlds: China's Cities as Spaces of Worldmaking mit seinen Forscher*innen teil.
Elena Meyer-Clement (University of Copenhagen) und Antonie Angerer (Universität Würzburg) präsentierten am 23.11.2023 das Paper "China’s “Rural Guardians”: Platformization of a rural development campaign". Zusätzlich übernahmen Björn Alpermann und Ryanne Flock den Vorsitz von zwei Panels während der Konferenz.
Abstract: "China’s “Rural Guardians”: Platformization of a rural development campaign"
An ever-growing part of life takes place on social media platforms, and this is certainly true for the largest part of China’s population. Not only individual users and commercial firms compete over views and likes in these spaces, but increasingly also government actors who are well aware of the excessive viewing practices of China’s netizens. However, it is difficult to grasp the political impact on social media platforms beyond the obvious censorship regulations.
In this paper, we analyze a program on rural development on the short-video platform Douyin, the Rural Guardians, which is part of the larger “Bytedance rural plan (zijie xiangcun jihua 字节乡村计划)” started by the Bytedance charity foundation in 2021. Embedding the qualitative content analysis of videos in a wider discussion of the interests and strategies of major actors involved, we investigate how the linkages and entanglements between political and commercial actors have become an integral part in shaping the production of rural digital space as a space promoting both economic consumption and political mobilization. By means of inclusion in the program, the well-known and widely liked rural nostalgia videos become framed as part of the ongoing rural development campaign promoting a new appreciation of the countryside and rural traditions, as well as a place of economic opportunities inviting the move of young educated urbanites, as well as the migrant population to return to the villages. In this “platformization of politics”, commercial platforms and government actors seem to work hand in hand in steering rural video production and dissemination towards both commercially and politically exploitable representations of the countryside.