A New Approach to the Geopolitics of Chinese Internets
Information, Communication & Society, Vol. 25, 2022, Forthcoming
7 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2022
Date Written: October 26, 2022
Written for a special issue on "The Geopolitics of Chinese Internets," this introductory essay summarizes how our understanding of Chinese internets – in the plural – has shifted in the past two decades. The incumbent approach sees "Chinese tech" as a unitary and statist monolith, an incomplete view whose utility has declined. By contrast, the articles in this special issue collectively substantiate a novel geopolitical approach that analyzes "Chinese internets" as internally diverse and externally border-crossing; as both public (governmental and non-governmental) and private (e.g., corporate); as discursive and policy entanglements beyond the dichotomy of multistakeholderism and multilateralism; and as global, regional, and local formations that are connected to, but not entirely constrained by, their national counterparts. Pluralist and multilayered, this new approach to analyzing Chinese techno-geopolitics shall provide a better fit for contemporary internet research involving state and nonstate actors in China, including Chinese companies operating both overseas and globally.
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