Media China & Mass Communication

 Media China:

Social Control vs. Social Change


Dr. Lu Wei

Wednesday, 9:00-12:15, East 1-B 406



Course Description

This course examines the interaction of media and society in China. It provides an overview of major theories and perspectives on the social shaping and consequences of Chinese media. Topics range from the development of print, electronic, and digital media, to the political and cultural implications of journalism and communication in China. The main goal of the course is to help students understand the social control and social change dynamics between Chinese media and other social institutions.


Course Objectives

As a result of this course, you will be able to:

1. Learn about the concepts and theories of media and society;

2. Acquire basic knowledge of contemporary Chinese media institutions;

3. Reach a critical understanding of how Chinese media reinforce social control and promote social change.


Course Requirements

1. Attendance. As required by CSP. (10%)


2. Completion of the critical review of one week’s readings. You should write a critical review of both articles from your week of choice. Each review should be around 2 pages, single spaced, and should consist of (1) a summary of the article, (2) strengths and weaknesses of the research, and (3) Some open questions and/or ideas for future research. Critical reviews are due at the end of the semester. (60%)


3. Co-leading one discussion session. Each class meeting is divided into two parts. The first is my lecture that provides an overview of that week’s topic. The second is a discussion about the readings co-led by students. You are expected to co-lead a class discussion with your teammates. For your session, you will give a brief presentation summarizing the main arguments from your assigned reading and providing an overview of common themes in that week’s readings. You should work out a list of approximately 2 analytic and open-ended discussion questions covering your reading (e.g., contrasting different perspectives, analyzing underlying assumptions, adding new factors or variables, etc.). Following your presentation, you will facilitate the class discussion and encourage participation by other students. A comparative discussion between China and your country regarding the topic is particularly valued. Everybody in a team needs to play a role in the presentation. NOTE: You are not allowed to choose the same week for both critical review and discussion leader. Students will sign up to lead class discussion in Week 1. (30%)


Tentative Course Schedule 


Sept 16, Week 1: Introduction and Media Theories 

Sign up for discussion assignment


Sept 23, Week 2: Comparative Media Systems 

Ostini, J., & Fung, A. Y. H. (2002). Beyond the four theories of the press: A new model of national media systems. Mass Communication & Society, 5(1), 41-56.

Sukosd, M., & Wang, L. (2013). From centralization to selective diversification: A historical analysis of media structure and agency in China, 1949-2013. Journal of Media Business Studies, 10(4), 83-104.


Sept 30, Week 3: Newspaper in China 

Zhao, Y. (1998). Media, market, and democracy in China: Between the party line and the bottom line. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Ch.1, Party journalism in China: Theory and practice.

Shen, F. & Zhang, Z. (2013). Who are the investigative journalists in China? Findings from a survey in 2010. Chinese Journal of Communication, 6(3), 374-384.


Oct 7, National Day Holiday, NO CLASS


Oct 14, Week 4: Magazine in China 

Li, S. (2012). A new generation of lifestyle magazine journalism in China. Journalism Practice, 6(1), 122-137.

Fritha, K., & Yang, F. (2009). Transnational cultural flows: An analysis of women’s magazines in China. Chinese Journal of Communication, 2(2), 158-173.


Oct 21, Week 5: Television and Radio in China 

Xu, M. (2013). Television reform in the era of globalization: New trends and patterns in post-WTO China. Telematics and Informatics, 30(4), 370-380.

Wei, L., & Shao, L. (2012). The multi-mediatization of radio in China. In J. A. Hendricks (Ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Global Radio. Palgrave Macmillan.


Oct 28, Week 6: Film in China 

Zhang, Y. (2003). Industry and Ideology: A Centennial review of Chinese Cinema. World Literature Today, 77(3/4), 8-13.

Zhu, Z. (2013). Romancing ‘kung fu master’: From ‘yellow peril’ to ‘yellow prowess’. Asian Journal of Communication, 23(4), 403-419.



Nov 4, Week 7: Internet in China 

Yang, G. B. (2014). Internet Activism & the Party-State in China. Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 143(2), 110-123.

Wei, L. (2014). Social media and political participation in China. In Lars Willnat & Annette Aw (eds.), Social Media, Culture, and Politics in Asia, New York: Peter Lang Publishing.


Nov 11, Week 8: Media Tour in Hangzhou

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