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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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15

China's Media Transformation and Audience Research

Hongmei Li

ABSTRACT

This chapter reviews Chinese audience research in the broader context of social, cultural, and media transformations that have taken place in China in the last three decades. It first describes some of the lasting structural changes that have altered Chinese media industries and Chinese society, such as foreign media influence, commercialization, and China's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 – developments that, to a great extent, have shaped the way in which audiences are conceptualized and studied in China. It then analyzes influential audience studies in order to examine key themes and patterns, with a specific focus on the shift in the status of Chinese audience members, from subjects and primarily citizens of the nation to consumers in a capitalist marketplace. The chapter reviews research conducted by scholars interested in cultural studies, ethnography, and new communication technologies, seeking to identify gaps in the knowledge of Chinese audiences. It explains what still needs to be explored in the field of audience studies in China; and it ends by offering an agenda for future research.

In his book The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria, New York Times bestselling author and editor of Time magazine, argues that, while the US remains a superpower militarily, “in every other dimension – industrial, financial, educational, social, cultural – the distribution of power is shifting, ...

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