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Title: Face, Social Ties and Positive Energy: an analysis of young Chinese WeChat users' reflections on mediated social relations
Authors: Chen, Shuhan
Supervisors: Lunt, Peter
Karatzogianni, Athina
Award date: 2-Jul-2018
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: The context to this study is the recent modernisation and rapid urbanisation of China has witnessed the widespread dislocation of people from small agrarian communities to rapidly developing cities for work and study. This is a profound social, cultural and political transformation in China. The disappearance of rural communities and the shift from collective to more individualistic society raises concerns about the fate of both traditional Chinese culture and the commitments of collectivism. For centuries, a relational concept of face has provided the intangible hand that orders Chinese people’s lives and communities. Against this background, this thesis presents a study among a group of Chinese students, most of whom have travelled to Beijing for their studies, and focusing on their use of social media to sustain relationships with their parents and their online networks. Through depth interviews and observations of their use of social media, principally WeChat, a multifunction social media platform, a picture emerges of their understanding and reflections on face, social ties and the regulation of online conduct through a discourse of positive energy. The ways in which these young people use social media in their sense of self and their social relationships reveals an engagement with traditional concepts of face lian and mianzi. Face practices are shown to be essential in managing their mediated relationships and social ties with their family and friends. In addition, the thesis demonstrates the spread of the idea of positive energy online as an important driver of online civility.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, Dept. of Media and Communication

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