Salsa Scoop> Your Mother Wants You To Go Home to Eat

Your Mother Wants You To Go Home to Eat

by Jason Z.

The Great Firewall of China -- that country's massive Internet censorship program -- is the great standing exception to the the cornucopian communication age cottage industry, not unlike China itself is for neoliberalism's great markets=freedom project.

So it's fascinating to take in this academic meditation on the uncanny spread of an Internet meme, The Curious Case of Jia Junpeng, or The Power of Symbolic Appropriation in Chinese Cyberspace.

the main message is that in China today, the internet can always be appropriated by users for their own purposes, however closely it is monitored or controlled. ... ... The issue is not simply a matter of citizen expression versus state control, or freedom versus repression, though these are of central importance. Even during more controlled periods such as the Cultural Revolution, there were what Tang Tsou calls "zones of indifference" which state power did not try to penetrate or control. In some ways, cyberspace is easier to control. A vast online community, for example, may be monitored from a small central control office. Entire networks can be shut down. Yet this does not mean Chinese cyberspace does not have its own "zones of indifference."

"Zones of indifference" ... reminiscent of (if distinctly less exalted than) Hakim Bey's Temporary Autonomous Zones. What's next in this for the timeless play of coercion, critique and consent? I think I may have to pick up the gentleman's book to get a few ideas.



Please login to post comments