King's College London

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Data supporting the thesis, "An Investigation of Online Activism through Emotional Mobilization on Social Media Platforms such as Weibo and WeChat"

Version 2 2024-05-30, 16:06
Version 1 2024-05-30, 13:45
posted on 2024-05-30, 16:06 authored by Han BaoHan Bao

Collaborations between citizens and the established media have become integral to professional journalistic practice in the digital age. With the decline of investigative journalism, citizen journalism and online activism have emerged as influential drivers of public discourse and civil society engagement. Despite the stringent state censorship, online debate in China exhibits considerable vibrancy and diversity. However, political engagement in the country generally adopts a less confrontational approach compared to its Western counterpart, and social movements are generally limited to the online sphere without significant offline impact. Examining the current trends, this thesis undertakes a cultural analysis to scrutinise the intricate interplay among the pivotal factors influencing online activism in China. These factors include the state, online platforms, the political sphere, daily expressions within online discourse, and civil society. The research employs a qualitative methodology suited to the sensitive nature of Chinese social media, focusing on three case studies, including the #MeToo movement of 2018 and the 2018 vaccine scandal. Emphasising the significance of emotional mobilisation within social media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat, the study acknowledges that emotions and emotional mobilisation continually influence collective action during Internet mass incidents. However, conventional social movement theory falls short of comprehensively explaining the role of emotions in the political dynamics of the mobile Internet era. Hence, it is crucial to explore the reciprocal and transformative interaction between emotion and rationality within China’s online public sphere, an alternative emotional arena. In this space, individuals often rely on instinct before recoursing to reasoned analysis to interpret and navigate diverse circumstances. The Internet functions as a hub that bridges otherwise atomised individuals and enables them to make unique contributions to collective action.


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Data collection to date


Collection method

The data collection methods include observation and interviews, with interviews being the primary method employed.



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