The People’s Republic of China began the 21st century with a new-and-improved public relations approach that was meant to counter anxieties about China’s role in the world while simultaneously showcasing the leadership’s policies to a domestic audience. Crucial to this communication strategy have been networked spectacles: elaborate mass event, designed to reconfigure organisations, ideas, and the relations between people.
In Staging China, Florian Schneider analyses large-scale projects like the Beijing Olympics and Shanghai Expo to show how such spectacles became part of the ruling party’s governance toolkit under Hu Jintao’s leadership, and how their legacy informs politics and political communication in China to this day.
Florian Schneider is Senior University Lecturer in the Politics of Modern China at Leiden University. He is managing editor of the academic journal Asiascape: Digital Asia and author of China’s Digital Nationalism (Oxford University Press 2018) and Visual Political Communication in Popular Chinese Television Series (Brill 2013).
“This is a timely, original, and relevant work with fine-grained yet essential nuances [on the] emerging, complicated repertoire used by the Communist Party of China to govern the world’s largest authoritarian regime. The author advances a theoretical frame for depicting the networked interactions and communications within the Communist Chinese state and its people.”
“Theoretically ambitious and empirically well-researched and written, the book seeks to weave a sociological dimension into a semiotic approach to the study of media events. (…) the book is compelling reading for anyone interested in mega-events and their relationship to – but not confined to – symbolic politics in China.”