East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

February 26 Workshop


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society Presents

“Naked Against Domestic Violence”:

A Feminist Weibo Activism in China



Ling Han, PhD Candidate

Department of Sociology

University of California, San Diego


4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday

February 26, 2013

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.




    Social movement scholars have long debated why some people rather than others are recruited into a particular social movement organization or what accounts for participant variation in different types of social movements. The emergence of online activism poses serious challenges to researchers who are most concerned with social movements having formal organizations and recruitment process. Do participants of Internet activism differ significantly from offline activism? Using the 2012 “Naked Against Domestic Violence” online naked photo feminist activism in China as my case study, I examine the diverged propositions about whether the nature of online activism differ fundamentally from offline activism. In the midst of these discordant propositions, I focus on the discussion of participant recruitment in a high-risk activism to examine whether personal ties and ideological identification still accounts for the participation into a high-risk online activism. First, I provide a delineation of the month-long Weibo campaign with an emphasis on the people who decided to pose their naked photos online. The online recruitment process is discussed in terms of participant’s personal activist history, social networks, and organizational affiliation. Taking account of the authoritarian environment of China, the specific timing and reception of the naked photos are highlighted along with their perceived impacts online. Because this movement concerns recruitment and dissemination via new social media, the constraints and limitations of such mediascape are examined in terms of its highly differentiated, sporadic, and tightly censor-encased nature. With many studies hailing the transformative nature of the new media to social movements, this study provides a grounded empirical case to shed light on the mobilization process of a new media social movement rooted in an authoritarian regime.

Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/

Student coordinator: Le Lin (lelin2010@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang, Dingxin Zhao and Zheng Michael Song

This presentation is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.

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