Affective Territories - Class and Media in the Chinese Television Drama Mobile

TitleAffective Territories - Class and Media in the Chinese Television Drama Mobile
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Ruoho, I., and J. Gao
Affiliation (1st Author)University of Tampere
Section or WGInternational Communication Section
DateWed 26 June
Slot CodeINCW2a
Slot Code (Keyword)INCW2a
Time of Session11:00-12:30
Session TitleBRICS as a new global communication order
Submission ID6402

There has been a drastic change in the Chinese media landscape after the People´ Republic of China joint World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. How these changes are perceived by the ordinary people is less documented in media or cultural studies. This paper tries to trace these encounters by analyzing a popular television drama serial, the Mobile (Shou Ji, 2010) geographically located in Beijing capital and Hunan countryside. As a television drama it has a special potential to capture the media landscape in China in its various manifestations of ideas, languages, affective realities, and political unconscious. The title of the drama refers to a token and desirable object of modern life, the mobile phone. Not only is the mobile, as an allegory of urban life, but also television and internet are both as a core of the Mobile. Through the stories of its protagonists the drama offers a dramatic gaze on not only a variety of forms of media technology and their imaginary but also on the contradictory class formation in the Chinese society. In this paper we are interested in (1) which ways the media environment of 2000s is captured by the Mobile, (2) what is the context of the story, and (3) how the drama builds the relationship between the media elite and working class in relation to media. Through its several storylines the Mobile offers a dramatic gaze on media and their imaginary role in the Chinese everyday life. Main theoretical interest in this paper is to consider how the drama organizes various affects; how people are shown to be affected by and about media; and accordingly, how these affects are articulated in the everyday life of people living regionally, socially and culturally unequal realities? The paper assumes that as a public narrative the Mobile offers its particular discourses of the role of current media and of the affective territories of social classes in China.

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