[Air-L] Call for Chapters -- Online China: Locating society in online spaces

Peter Marolt dabenmao at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 1 18:57:34 PST 2012

With apologies for cross-posting.

Call for Chapters

Online China: Locating
society in online spaces

A volume edited by
Peter Marolt and David Kurt Herold (proposed for Routledge)


The Chinese Internet has emerged as a growing
field of research and scholars have grown mindful that public spaces and
movements in cyberspace are intrinsic to understanding social issues that exist
offline, and vice versa. Online and offline spaces  are
increasingly recognized and rendered as interdependent and inseparable
dimensions of social, political, economic, and cultural activity and their
interrelationship is driving change across all facets of social life.

In this volume, online
and offline China are conceptualised as separate, but inter-connected spaces in
which human and institutional actors are interacting under the gaze of the seemingly
monolithic authoritarian state. The cyberspaces comprising 'online China' are understood
as spaces for interaction that influence 'offline China', and can be described as
augmented spaces that allow their users greater 'freedoms' despite ubiquitous
control and surveillance of state authorities. Individuals, groups, and
institutions are creating and shaping spaces for thought and action to express
ideas, produce shared meanings, engage in social interactions, etc, in a blend
of online and offline contexts.

The proposed volume seeks to gather
contributions that discuss and reflect on aspects of the diversity of social
and cultural practices taking place in online and offline spaces in China. We encourage contributors to reflect on how various actors utilize
the Internet to create and re-create meaningful spaces, institutions and
movements in their quest to shape their lives, and how these spaces propel or
hinder the transformation of societal structures. The chapters in the volume should
strive to deconstruct the notion of the all-powerful and monolithic state, while
also avoiding to cast Chinese Internet users in a primarily 'political' role.
Chinese cyberspace is home to many different users, groups, events, happenings,
movements, artefacts, etc., whose goals and purposes are rarely 'political' in
a narrow sense ¨C even if they have an effect on politics. In the same way, 'the
Chinese state' consists of many individuals, groupings, institutions, etc. who
are often at odds with each other, and have differing views on online China. Chinese
netizens are faced with contradictory, and ever shifting regulations and 'harmonizing'
state interventions that require constant choices, compromises, and great
flexibility, in negotiating the boundaries of permissible online and offline
behaviour. A re-conceptualisation of both online and offline China and their networks
of relationships will allow for a much deeper understanding of the importance
of the Internet in today's China (and beyond).

The editors hope
to assemble and integrate empirical findings and conceptual imaginings of the
ways in which 'Online China' invokes the re-making of 'Offline China' and how
people create new, blended socio-cultural spaces in today's China. We particularly
welcome, but are not limiting ourselves to studies that focus on:

of Chinese Internet users

of online, or online/offline practices

in actions/comments/etc. of 'the state'

and negotiations among and between Internet users and state authorities

grassroots and alternative spaces and projects

on how to detect and analyze such spaces and projects ¨C as they tend to be
small-scale, often invoking 'only' incremental, happenstance or
transient transformations

studies that showcase the richness and diversity of Chinese cyberspaces

We also invite
submissions that provide an explicit comparative perspective or that elaborate
on how organically grown initiatives, movements, or institutions are using
online and offline spaces to inform urban planning, policy, laws and

If you would like to contribute to this volume,
please contact one (or both) of the


Important dates:

16 April 2012              Submission
of 500 word abstracts for a chapter

4 May 2012                 Decision
of the editors

20 August 2012          Submission
of full chapters


  Dr. Peter Marolt
  Research Fellow
  Asia Research
  National University
  of Singapore
  marolt at nus.edu.sg 
  Dr. David Kurt
  Lecturer for
  Department of
  Applied Social Sciences
  HK Polytechnic
  Hong Kong
  ssherold at polyu.edu.hk 


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