Category Archives: Internet




Newsstand in Chaotianmen (朝天门), near the confluence of the Jialing river (嘉陵江) and the Yangzte (长江). Photo taken during a field trip to Chongqing in March 2014.

In the age of smart phones, e-books, personal digital assistants, tablets, and a long train of etcetera, paper books seem to be doomed to disappear from the streets. This outcome, which has been attempted by emperors and envisioned in science fiction, might eventually happen due to technology. Perhaps it was happening already, before the arrival of these electronic devices, which in most cases are used for anything but reading. At any rate, the passer-by is captivated once more by traditional newsstands that bring a whiff of nostalgia. The one in the photo offers a library service as well. Readers may borrow books from the collection available for 1 yuan a day. There is no need to register or ask for a reader’s card. Trust is taken for granted, and it seems to work. According to the seller, never has a reader forgotten to return a book.

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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Analyzing user behavior of the micro-blogging website Sinaweibo during hot social events

Wanqiu Guan, Haoyu Gao, Mingmin Yang and al (2014), Analyzing user behavior of the micro-blogging website Sina Weibo during hot social events.

The spread and resonance of users’ opinions on Sina Weibo, the most popular micro-blogging website in China, are tremendously influential, having significantly affected the processes of many real-world hot social events. We select 21 hot events that were widely discussed on Sina Weibo in 2011, and do some statistical analyses. Our main findings are that (i) male users are more likely to be involved, (ii) messages that contain pictures and those posted by verified users are more likely to be reposted, while those with URLs are less likely, (iii) the gender factor, for most events, presents no significant difference in reposting likelihood.

Published Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications Volume 395, 1 February 2014, p.340–351, Science Direct (Restricted access).
Open access: Submitted on 14 Apr 2013 (v1), last revised 24 Oct 2013 (this version, v4) arXiv:1304.3898 [cs.SI]

Source: Teaser for Weibo today, a weekly show spotlighting trending topics from China’s social networks in English March 2012

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Making cultural cities in Asia

Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Tampa, FL, April 8-12th – 2014

Session Title: Making Cultural Cities in Asia

Jun Wang (City University of Hong Kong)
Tim Oakes and Yang Yang (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Tim Oakes (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Session Abstract
In an increasingly globalizing world, many ‘ideas’, ‘innovations’, and ‘best practices’ derived from the West have flocked into Asian cities without much critical assessment of their contextual appropriateness and consequences. “Cultural/creative cities” is one such example. However, such occurrences in Asian cities linked to global networks of urbanism have only recently been taken up for examination, as empirical studies on Asian cities are few and far between. As for recent literature on creative/ cultural cities and industries in Asia, a growing body of scholarship has focused on this topic. Yet, less attention has been given to the critical issue of the applicability, transferability, and translation of “creative/cultural cities” from their Euro-American origins to Asian contexts.

Highlighting these issues, we intend to collect various explorations on the question of state-society interrelations amidst the mobility and territorialization of “creative/cultural cities” policies. We contend that the project of producing new urban spatial orders in a global network may be interpreted as a dynamic process:  how the mobile idea of cultural/creative cities has been channeled to and territorialized in Asian cities, and how the mutated or re-invented versions have been territorialized, institutionalized, branded and, perhaps, exported.

On the one side of the spectrum, we call for studies on policy mobility, in particular the political construction of the “web” of communication and the restructuring or rescaling of the state. On the other side, we look for studies that examine the impact of cultural/creative city projects on urban society, in particular the increasingly fragmented social forces, their changing roles in the process, their negotiations, alignments, and resistances.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Jun Wang ( or Yang Yang ( by November 15, 2013. Priorities will be given to those who submit before October 23, 2013. Please feel free to contact them with questions about the session.

See the AAG Annual meeting website

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Technomobility in China: young migrant women and mobile phones

Cara Wallis (2013), Technomobility in China: Young Migrant Women and Mobile Phones, New York: NYU Press, 288 p. ISBN-10:0814795269 ISBN-13:978-0814795262

As unprecedented waves of young, rural women journey to cities in China, not only to work, but also to “see the world” and gain some autonomy, they regularly face significant institutional obstacles as well as deep-seated anti-rural prejudices. Based on immersive fieldwork, Cara Wallis provides an intimate portrait of the social, cultural, and economic implications of mobile communication for a group of young women engaged in unskilled service work in Beijing, where they live and work for indefinite periods of time.
While simultaneously situating her work within the fields of feminist studies, technology studies, and communication theory, Wallis explores the way in which the cell phone has been integrated into the transforming social structures and practices of contemporary China, and the ways in which mobile technology enables rural young women—a population that has been traditionally marginalized and deemed as “backward” and “other”—to participate in and create culture, allowing them to perform a modern, rural-urban identity. In this theoretically rich and empirically grounded analysis, Wallis provides original insight into the co-construction of technology and subjectivity as well as the multiple forcesthat shape contemporary China.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Mobile Bodies, Mobile Technologies, and Immobile Mobility
  • Ch. 2 Market Reforms, Global Linkages, and (Dis)continuity in Post-Socialist China
  • Ch. 3 “My First Big Urban Purchase”: Mobile Technologies and Modern Subjectivity
  • Ch. 4 Navigating Mobile Networks of Sociality and Intimacy
  • Ch. 5 Picturing Self, Imagining the World
  • Ch. 6 Mobile Communication and Labor Politics
  • Conclusion: The Mobile Assemblage and Social Change in China

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Chinese corpus

 Chinese corpus. A study of overseas Chinese presence on the Web:  Morphology of the Web and production of the diaspora
By Emmanuel Ma Mung Kuang

This exploratory survey falls into a general investigation of the way dispersed collectives create their own worlds. The objective is to discover how use of the Internet configures their singular space and time (their own worlds). The unexpected results are that the Chinese diasporic Web is mainly Anglo-Saxon and that the geography of the selected sites does not correspond at all to the geography of the Chinese diaspora. Is this merely the effect of the criteria used to select the sites, or is it the sign of a deeper-reaching phenomenon?

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Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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The e-Diasporas Atlas

The e-Diasporas Atlas is a unique experiment in research on diasporas as well as in publishing, a first in the restitution of scientific findings and their presentation. Historically, the emergence of e-diasporas occurred in tandem with the diffusion of the Internet and the development of multiple online public services. At the end of the 1990s, a number of institutions joined forces with the new ‘e’-technologies (e-administration, e-democracy, e-education, e-healthcare, e-culture, e-tourism), which gave rise to the first presence on the Web of associations run by migrant populations. If the earliest websites were produced by IT professionals, we soon saw the diffusion of the Web in all of the diasporic communities and at all levels. The last ten years witnessed the use of both Webs 1.0 and 2.0 in these communities as well as the widespread appropriation of the various social-networking platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). These new communication and organization practices have produced a vast, moving e-corpus, whose exploration, analysis and archiving have never before been attempted. The outcome of the efforts of more than 80 researchers worldwide, the e-Diasporas Atlas is the first of its kind, with some 8,000 migrant websites archived and observed in their interactions.

A migrant site is a website created or managed by migrants and/or that deals with them (at any rate, a site for which migration or diasporas is a defining theme). This can be a personal site or blog, the site of an association, a portal/forum, an institutional site, or anything similar. Usage is not the criterion: a site often consulted by migrants (a media site, for example) is not necessarily a migrant site. What distinguishes ‘activity’ is first and foremost the production of content and the practice of citation (hyperlinks). On the other hand, a migrant site need not necessarily be located in a foreign country; it may just as easily be in the country of

origin. Migrant sites testify to a given e–diaspora’s occupation of the Web.
What we call e-diaspora is a migrant collective that organises itself and is active first and foremost on the Web: its practices are those of a community whose interactions are ‘enhanced’ by digital exchange. An e-diaspora is also a dispersed collective, a heterogeneous entity whose existence rests on the elaboration of a common direction, a direction not defined once and for all but which is constantly renegotiated as the collective evolves. An e-diaspora is an unstable collective because it is redrawn by every newcomer. It is self-defined, as it grows or diminishes not by inclusion or exclusion of members, but through a voluntary process of individuals joining or leaving the collective – simply by establishing hyperlinks or removing them from websites.

An e-diaspora is both ‘online’ and ‘offline’. We are therefore interested in both the digital ‘translations’ of ‘physical’ actors/phenomena (the online activities of associations, for example) and the specifically (‘natively’) digital actors/phenomena (e. g. a forum and its internal interactions), what are sometimes called pure players. The question of ‘rub–offs’ – reciprocal influence between these two sorts of Web entity – is of capital importance in analysing an e–diaspora. It is thus clear that the research carried out in the context of the e–Diasporas Atlas presupposes knowledge of the diaspora in question and, based on exploration of the Web, calls on new research in the field. It also implies knowledge of the Web and an appreciation of the singularity of the exchanges that take place there.
We prefer the term ‘e–diaspora’ to that of ‘digital diaspora’ because the latter may lend to confusion given the increasingly frequent use of the notions of ‘digital native’ and ‘digital immigrant’, in a ‘generational’ sense (distinguishing those born before from those born during/after the digital era). The object of the e–Diasporas Atlas is not this ‘digital migrant’, however, but the connected migrant. (Read more about the concept…)

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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