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UAL Research Online

Mobile Socialites in Beijing: Young adult Chinese WeChat users' mediated social relations between tradition and modernity

Chen, Shuhan and Peter, Lunt (2021) Mobile Socialites in Beijing: Young adult Chinese WeChat users' mediated social relations between tradition and modernity. In: The Routledge Handbook of Mobile Socialites. Routledge, pp. 145-158. ISBN 9780367543976

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Chen, Shuhan and Peter, Lunt

Since economic reform began in the late 1970s China has been on a path of condensed modernization that combines many of the phases of modernization that took place over 200 years in Europe: industrialization in all its phases including rapid development of digital technologies; global trade; rapid urbanization. Rapid urbanisation has resulted in a sizeable floating population separating people from their families and communities of origin to seek work and higher education in the expanding cities. Young Chinese university students leaving home to study in Beijing present a fascinating and complex case of mobile sociality.

This paper presents an analysis of the social media practices of 42 young adults who moved to Beijing to attend university focusing on their mediated social relations. We identify three forms of mobile sociality that our participants maintain or try to develop using the online infrastructure WeChat: relations with family reflecting traditional filial obligations, relations with close friends reflecting their collectivist heritage, and relations with acquaintances with whom they seek a foothold in the dynamic modernity of Beijing. What emerges is a picture of both the enthusiasm and nuance of mobile sociality as the meaning of social relations is in flux as this generation face the challenge of balancing tradition, friendship and the demands of urban life in the context of rapidly expanding opportunities and challenges of contemporary China.

Official Website: https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Handbook-of-Mobile-Socialities/Hill-Hartmann-Andersson/p/book/9780367543976
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Routledge
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 21 May 2021
Date Deposited: 18 May 2023 13:30
Last Modified: 18 May 2023 13:30
Item ID: 20103
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/20103

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