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Symbolic power and the internet: the power of a ‘horse’

Tang, Lijun ORCID: and Yang, Peidong 2011. Symbolic power and the internet: the power of a ‘horse’. Media, Culture & Society 33 (5) , pp. 675-691. 10.1177/0163443711404462

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It is a common perception that as long as people have the resources to access the internet, they are in a position to make their voice heard. In reality, however, it is obvious that the vast majority of internet users are not really able to make themselves ‘visible’ and that their concerns receive little attention. Thus, it is more accurate to suggest that the internet offers ordinary people the potential of this power. Under what conditions can this potential be realized and what are the associated implications? Drawing upon the concept of symbolic power, and utilizing a recent example from China, this article addresses these often overlooked questions. It shows that it is not easy to materialize the potential of symbolic power on the internet. What the internet makes easy is to produce follow-up discourse once a powerful symbol has appeared. With the aid of supporters and their follow-up discourses, the symbol creates a symbolic network and takes roots in the society quickly and deeply. Finally, some thoughts on symbolic power in the context of China are also provided in the framework of discourse and social change.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Uncontrolled Keywords: critical discourse analysis; grass-mud horse; internet control; media power; symbol; visibility
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0163-4437
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 08:16

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