Wanning Sun FAHA is Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UTS. Her book publications include:
- Leaving China: Media, Migration, and Transnational Imagination (2002)
- Maid in China: Media, Morality and the Cultural Politics of Boundaries (2009)
- Subaltern China: Rural Migrants, Media and Cultural Practices ( 2014)
- Mapping Media in China: Locality, Region and Province (2013, with J. Chio)
- Unequal China: the Political Economy and Cultural Politics of Inequality (2013, with Y. Guo)
- Media and Communication in the Chinese Diaspora: Rethinking Transnationlism (2016, with J.Sinclair)
- Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia (2016, with T. Lewis and F. Martin)
Wanning is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities. She is a member of the editorial board for Communication, Culture & Critique (ICA), Asian Journal of Communication,Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, and the China Journal.
Can supervise: YES
- Chinese media and cultural studies
- Soft power, public diplomacy and political communication in China
- Rural-to-urban migration in China and cultural politics of inequality
- Diasporic Chinese media and Chinese media in Australia
- Lifestyle media, health and environmental communication
Sun, W & Yang, L 2019, Love Stories in China The Politics of Intimacy in the Twenty-First Century, Routledge.
This book explores how political, economic, social, cultural and technological forces are (re)shaping the meanings of love and intimacy in China's public culture.
Lewis, T, Martin, F & Sun, W 2016, Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia, Duke University Press, USA.
Yoga gurus on lifestyle cable channels targeting time-pressured Indian urbanites; Chinese dating shows promoting competitive individualism; Taiwanese domestic makeover formats combining feng shui with life planning advice: Asian TV screens are increasingly home to a wild proliferation of popular factual programs providing lifestyle guidance to viewers. In Telemodernities Tania Lewis, Fran Martin, and Wanning Sun demonstrate how lifestyle-oriented popular factual television illuminates key aspects of late modernities in South and East Asia, offering insights not only into early twenty-first-century media cultures but also into wider developments in the nature of public and private life, identity, citizenship, and social engagement. Drawing on extensive interviews with television industry professionals and audiences across China, India, Taiwan, and Singapore, Telemodernities uses popular lifestyle television as a tool to help us understand emergent forms of identity, sociality, and capitalist modernity in Asia
© 2016 selection and editorial material, Wanning Sun and John Sinclair; individual chapters, the contributors. All rights reserved. The rise of China has brought about a dramatic increase in the rate of migration from mainland China. At the same time, the Chinese government has embarked on a full-scale push for the internationalization of Chinese media and culture. Media and communication have therefore become crucial factors in shaping the increasingly fraught politics of transnational Chinese communities. This book explores the changing nature of these communities and reveals their dynamic and complex relationship to the media in a range of countries worldwide. Overall, the book highlights a number of ways in which China's "going global" policy interacts with other factors in significantly reshaping the content and contours of the diasporic Chinese media landscape. In doing so, this book constitutes a major rethinking of Chinese transnationalism in the twenty-first century.
Sun, W 2014, Subaltern China: Rural Migrants, Media, and Cultural Practices, 1, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham MA USA.
Single authored research monograph
Sun, W 2009, Maid in China: Media, Morality and the Cultural Politics of Boundaries, 1, Routledge, London, UK.
Maid in China is the first systematic, book-length investigation of internal rural migration in post-Mao China focused on the day-to-day production and consumption of popular media. Taking the rural maid in the urban home as its point of departure, the book weaves together three years of engaged ethnographic research in Beijing and Shanghai with critical analyses of a diverse array of popular media, and follows three lines of inquiry: media and cultural production, consumption practices, and everyday politics. It unravels some of the myriad ways in which the subaltern figure of the domestic worker comes to be inscribed with the cultural politics of boundaries that entrench a host of inequalitiesbetween rich and poor, male and female, rural and urban. Wanning Sun explores a number of paradoxes that the domestic worker lives out on a daily basis: her ubiquitous invisibility, her enduring transience, and her status as an intimate stranger. Collectively, these paradoxes afford her a unique window onto the spaces and practices of the modern Chinese city. This intimate strangers epistemological status makes her an unauthorized yet authoritative witness of urban residents social lives, offering a revealing lens through which to examine both the formation of new social relations in post-reform urban China, and the new social uses of spaceboth domestic and publicengendered by these relations.
Sun, W 2002, Leaving China: Media, Migration and Transnational Imagination, 1, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland.
Sun, W 2020, 'Consumption Plus Love: Inequality, Domestic Utopia, and China’s New Politics of the Future', Modern China: an international quarterly of history and social science, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 49-78.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© The Author(s) 2019. With hundreds of millions of rural migrant workers now dominating the labor market in China’s fastest growing regions, this group embodies that nation’s most intractable problems of inequality. Young, single, socially disenfranchised rural migrants, particularly men, reportedly experience widespread difficulty in finding a marriage partner, largely because they cannot afford to buy a home. The resulting potential social instability is of pressing concern to the Chinese Communist Party. How do discourses of governmentality reconcile/manage class inequality? How do they construct the future and encourage hope? What moral, cultural, and rhetorical resources does this ideology of the future draw on, and to what extent does it represent a rupture with China’s revolutionary—and traditional—past? Do China’s most disenfranchised socioeconomic groups buy into the “China Dream” rhetoric? This article addresses these questions through a series of “love stories” screened by China Central Television. It pinpoints a particular moment in China’s state capitalism when romantic love became a means of managing, if not solving, social inequality. It uncovers a new discursive blueprint for future state narratives of inequality and brings to light some new ways of restructuring the fantasy of the “good life.”.
© The Author(s) 2020. If You Are the One (IYATO) is China’s most popular television dating show. Since Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) bought it 6 years ago, the show has attracted a cult following among English-speaking viewers. SBS subsequently purchased several other Chinese reality shows, and the Seven Network launched its own version of IYATO. But none of these programmes have proven to be as enduringly popular as IYATO. Taking an industry studies approach, this article draws on the inside knowledge of one of the authors, and on interviews with several other SBS employees, to shed light on the media industry’s thinking behind importing cultural products from China, particularly against the backdrop of fear and anxiety about China’s influence. We also ask why IYATO has endeared itself to Australia’s English-speaking viewers in ways that the majority of Chinese media content has not, despite the Chinese government’s myriad soft power initiatives.
Sun, W & Yu, H 2020, 'WeChatting the Australian Election: Mandarin-Speaking Migrants and the Teaching of New Citizenship Practices', SOCIAL MEDIA + SOCIETY, vol. 6, no. 1.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Sun, W 2019, 'Chinese-language digital/social media in Australia: double-edged sword in Australia’s public diplomacy agenda', Media International Australia, vol. 173, no. 1, pp. 22-35.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© The Author(s) 2019. Using examples from Sydney Today, this article discusses the challenges facing Australia in its attempt to engage diasporic media for the purpose of public diplomacy towards China. Based on a pilot study, the article first reviews some of the major developments in the Chinese-language media in Australia, paying particular attention to the key features of digital/social media since the arrival of migrants from the People’s Republic of China. Second, it presents examples from four key content categories: Australia–China relations, politics, economics, and cultural life. Finally, the article identifies the challenges and opportunities facing Australia’s public diplomacy towards China, and outlines some key methodological and analytical frameworks for future research.
Sun, W 2019, 'Inequality in Mobility: The Pursuit of Conjugal Intimacy for China’s Rural Migrant Women in Industrial Shenzhen', Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 302-317.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Existing studies of dagongmei (China’s rural migrant woman workers) tend to situate them in the space of industrial production and, to a lesser extent, the site of everyday life. But we still do not know how their gender and mobility impact on their capacity to achieve personal intimacy; nor is it clear what social, economic and cultural forces may impede their search for it. This paper explores these questions by drawing on longitudinal ethnographic interactions with migrant women in Shenzhen who work for Foxconn–the world’s biggest multi-national electronics manufacturer. Focusing on the stories of three women, this discussion shifts the analysis of the body and labour from the public to the private sphere, thereby attempting to shed light on the link between intimacy, emotion and inequality in China’s capitalist industrial regime.
Sun, W 2019, 'Rural Migrants and Their Marital Problems: Discourses of Governing and Knowledge Production in China', Critical Policy Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 43-60.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Since 2010, there has been a noticeable increase in China’s academic publications about young rural migrants’ love life. Social scientists play a crucial role in shaping public opinions and policy formations regarding the welfare of individuals from this disadvantaged group. Knowledge about rural migrants’ marital problem – the nature of their problem, its causes and possible solutions – provides legitimation to the government’s social policies, and for this reason it warrants careful investigation. Taking an interpretative policy analysis approach, the article analyses the recurring narrative and discursive frameworks in the Chinese-language scholarship. Furthermore, it juxtaposes scholarship produced inside and outside China in order to bring into sharp relief the ‘Chinese characteristics’ of China’s scholarly publications in the fields of social sciences. The article also discusses why the private life of rural migrants has become a source of political and social anxiety. This discussion demonstrates the complex connection between socioeconomic inequality, social policy formations, and the cultural politics of class in post-socialist China.
© The Author(s) 2019. This article explores two contested concepts: Chinese digital diaspora and social media. It signposts two issues central to the special issue that analyses the roles of digital and social media in the lives of Chinese migrants in Australia, that is, (1) WeChat and other digital platforms in enabling civic participation in Australian socio-economic, cultural, and political lives; (2) the impact of such digital practices on their identity and citizenship.
Sun, W 2018, 'My health is my own business': Privatization, inequality and discourses of health in post-Mao China', International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 21, no. 2.
Sun, W 2018, 'Romancing the vulnerable in contemporary China: Love on the assembly line and the cultural politics of inequality', China Information, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 69-87.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. Several decades of economic reform have transformed China into one of the world’s most unequal countries. However, because this inequality has been studied primarily at the structural level, we know little about how it impacts on intimate relationships and affects individuals’ experiences of love and romance. This article engages with this question through a case study of ‘Love on the Assembly Line’, a series of ‘wedding photos’ featuring Chinese rural migrant workers, and the subsequent series of television reports of the same name, dating from 2012–13. It first examines the political-economic context of this minor cultural phenomenon, then examines current contestations over the meaning of love and romance, and finally documents the responses of rural migrant individuals themselves to the project. Combining ethnographic observation, in-depth interviews, and critical discourse analysis, this discussion goes some way towards demonstrating how inequality of emotion can be fruitfully studied, thereby advancing a new and alternative approach to researching inequality in China – one that views love/romance as a cluster of contested cultural narratives and discourses; as a social practice that involves a particular form of distributive injustice; as an integral part of class politics; and as the product of the interaction of these three realms.
Sun, W & Lei, W 2018, '‘My health is my own business’: Radio, television and advice media in post-Mao China', International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 139-154.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016. The withdrawal of state funding from public health care in post-Mao China has resulted in individuals taking responsibility for their own health. In this article, we first trace the emergence and development of the main health-related advice genres on radio and television during the latter half of the reform era (from the 1990s onwards). We then discuss the content, form and themes of health information and advice, first on radio and then on television. Drawing on interviews with radio and television producers and audience members, as well as a number of medical practitioners, we take an approach that is at once political-economic and cultural. Our intention is to uncover the distinctive challenges facing Chinese individuals as risk subjects, and the strategies they adopt in response, thus highlighting the major ways in which specific media and cultural forms and practices are constitutive of China’s unique journey to modernization.
As a sound medium which once enjoyed a dominant status in Mao-era China, radio has undergone tremendous transformation over the past several decades. Throughout the history from socialist era to post-Mao-era China, radio has much to tell about listening as a social practice and about the formation of the public. This article asks how radio listening was defined and managed as a form of public engagement at different historical stages in Chinese Communist Party–led China through the prism of several aspects of radio listening, including radio as a material object, the location and the time of radio listening, and radio genres which dominated the time. We seek to identify the forces that shape the radio landscape, as well as the changing conceptions of listening and the public in China, as the nation transformed itself from a collectivized and communally oriented society to one featuring privatization, individualization, and globalization.
© 2017, The Author(s). Although sociological insights into the relationship between consumption and class are mostly borne out by current research in the Chinese context, it is important to consider the implications of applying such an analytic framework—which arose within American and European social contexts—to contemporary China. This paper examines the relationship between consumption and class relations. Drawing on ethnographic research and interviews with young urban professionals in Beijing and Nanjing and young rural migrants in Shenzhen, it asks how individuals from these two socioeconomic cohorts participate in the ritual of romantic consumption. In particular, the paper asks how individuals from these groups think about and rationalise their decisions surrounding two wedding-related consumer items: bridal photography and diamond engagement rings. The discussion reveals some distinct features in class formation in contemporary China, where class structures are fluid, unstable and still in the process of being defined.
Although sociological insights into the relationship between consumption and class are mostly borne out by current research in the Chinese context, it is important to consider the implications of applying such an analytic framework—which arose within American and European social contexts—to contemporary China. This paper examines the relationship between consumption and class relations. Drawing on ethnographic research and interviews with young urban professionals in Beijing and Nanjing and young rural migrants in Shenzhen, it asks how individuals from these two socioeconomic cohorts participate in the ritual of romantic consumption. In particular, the paper asks how individuals from these groups think about and rationalise their decisions surrounding two wedding-related consumer items: bridal photography and diamond engagement rings. The discussion reveals some distinct features in class formation in contemporary China, where class structures are fluid, unstable and still in the process of being defined.
Sun, W & Lei, W 2017, 'In Search of Intimacy in China: The Emergence of Advice Media for the Privatized Self', Communication, Culture and Critique, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 20-38.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2016 International Communication Association One consequence of China's post-Mao economic reforms was the radical privatization of the public sector. Unshackled from the prescribed social norms and commitments of socialism, individuals were thrown into a hitherto unavailable space in which they could experiment with different modes of self-formation. With this came an urgent need for guidance to help citizens find their bearings in the new moral-sexual-economic order. Tracking the emergence of some new radio and television formats over the past 3 decades, and taking an approach that is at once political-economic and cultural, we analyze the role of the Chinese media in producing advice on love and personal relationships in the reform era, paying attention to the paradoxical relationship between intimacy construction and advice provision.
Sun, W & Yu, H 2017, 'Digital/Social Media and the Chinese Community in Australia', Media Asia.
Sun, W 2016, 'Book review: Out to Work: Migration, Gender, and the Changing Lives of Rural Women in Contemporary China', China Information, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 108-109.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Reforms in China’s household registration system over the past few decades have allowed vast number of rural
residents to enter the city in search of work. Young factory workers are subject to a high level of discipline within the
industrial regime. The dearth of time, space, and money has one practical implication for workers’ love lives: often
enough, it is difficult to practice intimacy, and when they do try, it may have to be in public places. In January 2013, a
group of 30 photos appeared on ifeng.com, an online platform for Phoenix TV and one of China’s best known Internet
portals. Entitled “Rural Migrants’ Love in Dongguan,” these photos “went viral” within a short period of time, appearing
on many websites in China and beyond. Through a juxtaposition of public debates online and some workers’ own views
on these images, this article discusses the cultural politics of class and visibility in the digital age.
Sun, W 2016, 'Regimes of healthy living: The reality of ageing in urban China and the cultivation of new normative subjects', Journal of Consumer Culture, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 908-925.View/Download from: Publisher's site
China is quickly becoming one of the most ageing populations in Asia. Ageing and the associated issue of health care are becoming two key concerns for the government, the market, individual senior citizens and medical and health professionals alike. However, although we have some knowledge about what issues and problems exist in the domain of health and ageing, we know little about how these issues and problems inform individuals’ consumption practices and ethical positions of how they should live their lives. This article explores a range of problematic and uncertain situations facing the ageing population in urban China. Drawing on in-depth interviews with more than 20 senior citizens in a Chinese city, the article aims to understand the process by which new ethical ageing subjects come to be formed as individuals negotiate their positions vis-à-vis consumer advice from medical and health professionals, the government and the market. The article starts by identifying the most powerful forces shaping the health-keeping discourses and consumption practices adopted by senior citizens. It then provides an account of how ordinary retired citizens engage in health-keeping practices on a daily basis. Finally, the article outlines the host of feelings that motivate China’s senior citizens’ active participation in the regimes of healthy living, as well as a range of everyday ethical positions that emerge from their consumption practices. The article argues that as China has been transformed from a socialist state into a neoliberal regime, questions of how neoliberalism works as both a set of techniques of governing and a set of socio-economic policies in the Chinese context must be answered. In the same way that the biopower is a pertinent question to ask of any modern society, how a neoliberal governmentality and its biopolitics work in the Chinese context is both relevant and timely.
Sun, W 2015, 'Configuring the Foreign Correspondent: New Questions about China’s Public Diplomacy', Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 125-138.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. The perennial narrative of foreign correspondents' misadventures in China alerts us to a blind spot in current examinations of China's public diplomacy efforts. Much work has been done to indicate the level of efforts on the part of the state actors in their engagement of public diplomacy exercises. However, how foreign media shapes the success or failure of public diplomacy is not at all clear. Yet knowing the answer to this question is crucial if we are to understand the depth and breadth of the challenges facing China's public diplomacy goals. Concerned with this question, this article, combining institutional and historical analyses, centres upon the figure of the foreign correspondent in China, and raises the empirical and conceptual question of the role of the foreign correspondent in China's public diplomacy agenda. The article's main objective is to chart a new direction in the examination of China's soft power, public diplomacy and communication strategies.
China's transformation from state-run socialism to market economy has resulted in the progressive privatization of a number of key areas, including public health. At the same time, research suggests that the privatization of public service has given accelerated the formation of self-governing subjects who will enrich and strengthen Chinese authoritarian rule. This is most vividly demonstrated in the tendency of Chinese consumers to engage in the practice of self-health, an integral dimension of the wide-spread yangsheng (life-nurturing) practice at the grassroots level. Engaging with the concept of biocitizenship, and combining critical analysis of media with ethnographic fieldwork, this paper examines a nationwide process of health literacy education through popular media and the ways in which this process shapes yangsheng as both discourse and practice. It also identifies a range of ethical positions adopted by individual citizens in response to yangsheng as a discourse, practice and industry. The discussion reveals that biological citizenship has indeed become a new and integral dimension of China's citizenship project in the twenty-first century. We learn that while there is indeed an unambiguously top-down process of making biocitizens, a certain level of biological citizenship ‘from below’ is also present, albeit with distinct Chinese characteristics.
Sun, W 2015, 'Editorial', China Perspectives, no. 2015, 2, pp. 3-5.
Sun, W 2015, 'From Poisonous Weeds to Endangered Species: Shenghuo TV, Media Ecology and Stability Maintenance', Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 17-37.
Sun, W 2015, 'Remembering the Age of Iron: Television dramas about Chinese workers in the socialist era', China Perspectives, no. 2, pp. 33-42.
Over the past few years we have witnessed a minor cultural phenomenon in China, with the production and enthusiastic reception
nationwide of several television dramas about Chinese workers in the socialist decades. Set in the industrial plants of Liaoning
in China’s northeast, once the industrial powerhouse of the socialist nation, these drama series centre on the dramatic transformation
in workers’ experiences from 1949 to the start of economic reforms. In this paper I explore these series, asking: what does the smallscale
production but enthusiastic reception of this genre tell us about the contemporary cultural politics of class? This paper addresses
this question by (1) highlighting the key aspects of workers’ experiences with socialism as depicted in these television narratives; (2)
considering the creative agenda of Gao Mantang, the script writer of the most successful industrial-themed television series; and (3)
identifying some crucial ways in which the subjectivity of workers and other social groups in contemporary Chinese society intersect
to shape the cultural politics of class. This discussion shows that television dramas have indeed become the basis of a widely accessible
public forum that helps forge a renewed appreciation of the moral integrity of China’s working class, vent a widespread sense of injustice,
and foster a certain degree of solidarity between workers and other social classes. At the same time, while television dramas about
workers may hold significant potential for mobilising public support for the working class and advocating workers’ interests, this discussion
also suggests that so far this potential has not been fully exploited.
Sun, W 2015, 'Slow boat from China: public discourses behind the 'going global' media policy', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CULTURAL POLICY, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 400-418.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Sun, W & Hassid, J 2015, 'Stability Maintenance and Chinese Media: Beyond Political Communication?', Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 3-15.
An introduction is presented in which the editors discuss various reports within the issue on topics including media and communication in China, online communication in China, and China's responsiveness to Internet opinion.
Sun, W 2014, 'Foreign or Chinese: Reconfiguring the Symbolic Space of Chinese Media', International Journal of Communication, vol. 8, pp. 1894-1911.
refereed research article
Sun, W 2014, 'Media Events: Past, Present and Future', Sociology Compass, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 457-467.
Original research article
original research article
Sun, W 2013, '‘Scaling Lifestyle in China: The Emergence of Local Television Cultures and the Political Economy of Place-Making’', Media International Australia incorporating Culture & Policy, vol. 147, no. 1, pp. 62-72.
Media in China consist less and less of national-scale media, and more and more of media at a range of sub-national scales, including the region, province, municipality, county and village. In the television sector, local and provincial television has become national in terms of access, and television at sub-national levels has had to become much more intensely local and provincial as a way to achieve difference, and therefore survive and thrive in the competitive media market. Against this background, this article is a comparative analysis of the production, consumption and actual programs of lifestyle television between local/semi-rural, metropolitan and national television. It argues that a growing recognition of the appreciable value of the 'local' and 'regional' in the cultural economy of place-making has given rise to a plethora of place-specific media forms, and that scale plays a pivotal role in shaping distinct locality-appropriate taste, outlook and sensibility.
The question of how China's rural migrants are recognized, in a political context that is dominated by the `zhu xuanlu'/`main melody' of social harmony, and in an economic environment that puts profit above social, cultural and morality concerns, is crucial to our understanding of the cultural politics of subalterneity. This article explores the ways in which the camera mediates the unequal relationship between the documentary film-maker and the rural migrant subject, and, in doing so, reveals a diverse politics of recognition. My aim is to understand how a particular politics of recognition has come to inform and shape the film-makers styles, aesthetics and themes. I situate this analysis within the larger politicaleconomic context of the production and consumption of documentaries. By closely engaging with some of the documentary texts, this article offers examples of a range of perspectives and narrative strategies in configuring the rural migrant figure.
Lewis, T, Martin, F & Sun, W 2012, 'Lifestyling Asia? Shaping modernity and selfhood on life-advice programming', International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 537-566.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This article discusses the early findings of a research project examining the role of lifestyle television in Asia. Life-advice programming in East Asia includes a range of `popular factual formats from cooking and health shows to makeover and consumer advice shows. A growing body of Anglo-American scholarship emphasizes the cultural importance of lifestyle programming, suggesting that the explosion of lifestyle formats at this particular cultural-historical moment connects to broader transformations in western neoliberal states, especially the rise of individualized, consumer-based models of identity and citizenship. Focusing on Singapore, China and Taiwan, this article offers a discussion of the potential of such arguments in these contexts, in light of our findings about the forms of life-advice programming prevalent in these three television industries. In particular, it explores the relevance (or not) of Anglo-American theories of neoliberal selfhood in these sites as read through the lens of lifestyle television
Sun, W 2012, 'Amateur Photography as Self-Ethnography: China’s Rural Migrant Workers and the Question of Digital-Political Literacy’', Media International Australia, vol. 145, pp. 135-144.
In recent decades, some distinctive cultural practices have emerged from Chinas rural migrant worker community. A small but growing number of rural migrant workers are consciously using the camera on their mobile phones to engage in varying levels of political and cultural activism. This article is concerned with the macro-level question of digital literacy and political consciousness among Chinas rural migrant working class, but it pursues this question through a close-up account of some individual rural migrants initial encounters and subsequent experiences with the camera. By examining their cultural activist practices, and adopting a mode of inquiry most often used in visual anthropology, the article discusses issues of class consciousness and digital literacy. Drawing on sustained interaction with a dozen migrant activists in Beijing from 2009 to 2011, it provides a preliminary evaluation of the potential of digital media to construct collective self-ethnography, as well as its capacity to effect political socialisation and social change.
Much has been written about the working conditions, experiences of injustice and exploitation, and the formation of the working class in the construction sector in China. However, we know very little about the role of media in the process of gaining/denying voice and visibility. Combining critiques of media forms and media practices with ethnographic insights, and in juxtaposition to the two dominant, or hegemonic, media forms - reality TV shows and media events - which embody, respectively, the market and the Party-state's efforts to exploit the 'media logic', the article considers the success and failure of rural migrant construction workers' media tactics in their struggles to claim wages owed to them. This article is concerned with the politics of voice, and explores how the processes of mediation and mediatization engaged in by all parties - the Party-state, the market, workers and the media - amplify or constrain voice.
Sun, W 2012, 'Poetry of labour and (Dis)articulation of class: China's worker-poets and the cultural politics of boundaries', Journal of Contemporary China, vol. 21, no. 78, pp. 993-1010.View/Download from: Publisher's site
'Dagong' means 'working for the boss', and bespeaks the commodification of labour. Over the past two and a half decades, a minor literary genre has emerged from this dagong community, documenting the crushing effect of the industrial machine on the body and soul of rural migrant workers. This paper considers the paradoxical process of class formation and class dissipation through the prism of the debates and commentaries surrounding workers' poetry from elite cultural institutions and worker-poets themselves. This discussion suggests that these commentaries and debates constitute both class articulations and disarticulations, and together they point to the precariousness of the formation of worksing-class consciousness in contemporary China.
Sun, W 2012, 'Rescaling media in China: the formations of local, provincial, and regional media cultures', Chinese Journal of Communication, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 10-15.View/Download from: Publisher's site
A refereed journal article on Chinese media
Sun, W 2012, 'Screening inequality: injustices, class identities and rural migrants in Chinese cinema', Berliner China-Hefte: Chinese History and Society, vol. 41, pp. 6-20.
refereed journal article
Sun, W 2012, 'Subalternity With Chinese Characteristics: Rural Migrants, Cultural Activism, And Digital Video Filmmaking', Javnost - the Public, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 83-99.
Like the indigenous media activists elsewhere, rural migrant individuals in China are now using digital DV camera to produce work to document the lives and work of rural migrants in the Chinese city. In doing so, rural migrant filmmakers provide perspect
Sun, W, Gao, J, Sinclair, J & Yue, A 2011, 'The Chinese-Language Press in Australia: A Preliminary Scoping Study', Media International Australia, vol. 138, no. 138, pp. 137-148.
Despite clear evidence pointing to the centrality of the Chinese press in the historical formation of the Chinese community, and despite the continued importance of the Chinese-language press in the current political, cultural, social and economic life of the Chinese community, there is little understanding of its history and recent growth in mainstream English-language media scholarship. Worse still, the shift in recent scholarship to the power of cyberspace and other forms of new media in assisting the formations of diasporic subjectivities runs the risk of giving the impression that the print media are no longer relevant. Our article aims to address this blind spot by mapping out the contours of change and continuity within the Chinese language press in Australia. In the first part, we provide a brief historical account of the Chinese migrant communities in Australia, and the role of the press in their formation.
Despite the exponential growth of Chinese migrants in Australia, and despite the sizable body of work in various locations, the picture of how the Chinese-language media have developed in Australia over the past decade is still somewhat unclear. Even less clear is a sense of how the field has changed since the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games, a significant event that signalled China's ascent on to the global stage. This paper seeks to update the picture of the Chinese-language media landscape in Australia. We explore a number of angles, which work in articulation to produce a picture of growing complexity and fluidity. In doing so, we put forward a number of arguments. First, the diasporic Chinese-language media are subject to, as well as respond to, the vagaries of the wax and wane of the multicultural polity of the host nation. In addition, the diasporic Chinese-language media, for a wide range of reasons: technological, cultural, and economic; need to reassess their cultural role and strategies in the wake of the PRC's new status as a global power and its push for expansion of its media content and cultural impact outside China. Furthermore, to a varying extent and in a variety of ways, the diasporic Chinese-language media have become part and parcel of the global transnational cultural economies of Chinese-language media productions.
Sun, W 2010, 'Mission Impossible: Soft Power, Communication Capacity, and the Globalization of Chinese Media', International Journal of Communication, vol. 4, pp. 19-26.
Recent media policy statements made by the Chinese Communist Partys leadership invariably stress the importance of strengthening Chinese medias communication capacity, but how communication is understood by the CCP leadership remains somewhat unclear. Engaging a range of perspectives from critical media and communication studies, this article examines a dominant view of communication held by the Chinese leadership and explores a number of ways in which that view shapes the direction of Chinese medias efforts to go global. Through the prism of media events, including the CCTVs coverage of the Sichuan earthquake, news, and current affairs, this article argues that, despite the increased quantity of Chinese media content overseas, the sphere of disagreement between Chinese media and its international counterparts over what kind of stories should be told and how to tell these stories seems insurmountably vast.
In March 2009, Li Changchun, Chinas Chief of Propaganda and a senior member of the standing committee of Chinas Political Bureau, told the ABC (Australias national broadcaster) that China was concerned about the Western medias reporting of Tibetan issues, and he fi rmly requested that the ABC discuss China in a comprehensive, well-balanced, fair, and objective manner.1 Lis behavior is indicative of Chinas increasingly proactiverather than reactiveapproach to propaganda. Instead of waiting for Western media to become objective or more sympathetic to China in their coverage of sensitive issues, China is now moving its propaganda offshore. For instance, the photo exhibition, Tibet of China: Past and Present, recently traveled around the world repudiating the Wests popular representations of the Dalai Lama.
In Chinese, 'dagong' means 'working for the boss'. Dagong migrants constitute the most populous group of China's mobile population, so knowledge of their cultural practices is crucial to understanding how globalisation and mobility rework people's sense of locality. This paper is an analysis of poems by dagong workers - a cultural phenomenon that is relatively unknown both outside and inside China. Drawing on ethnographic insights into China's rural migrants, this paper engages the concept of translocality to explore three recurring themes in dagong poetry: alienation of the body in the industrial regime; displacement and homesickness; and disenchantment with the south. The analysis shows that, for the same reason that mobility itself is a stratified process, the means of addressing translocal desires and longings are also stratified.
Sun, W 2010, 'Scaling Chinese Media: A Geographic Turn to Future Research', The Journal of International Communication, vol. 4, pp. 537-543.
Trained in critical media and cultural studies, and having taught undergraduate courses in media and communication in the tertiary sector in Australia for over a decade, I have always been interested in identifying simple, effective ways of teaching analytical methods and concepts. In this process, I have found cultural theorist Richard Johnsons (1986) notion of the circuit of culture useful. His circuit features four dimensions production, texts, readings, and lived cultures all of which are articulated in relation to one another, and are subject to conditions of social relations.
Sun, W 2010, 'Sex, City, and the Maid: Between Socialist Fantasies and Neoliberal Parables', Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 53-69.
Of the many rural migrant workers who go to Chinese cities as cheap labourers, the one who interacts most intimately with urban residents is the domestic servant. In fact, precisely because of this intimate stranger status, the figure of the maid has captured the imagination of the urban population. This fascination is evidenced by the plethora of television narratives centring on the fraught relationships between the rural migrant woman and her male employer. This paper analyses a range of television narratives from the genres of dramas and documentaries. It shows that in these narratives, sex functions as the metaphor of social inequality between two social groups. It shows that if we explore how love, romance and marriage are constructed, we may gain some insight into processes of social and ideological contestation in the domain of cultural production.
Sun, W 2009, 'Communication in China: Political Economy, Conflict and Power, by Yuezhi Zhao', International Journal of Communication, vol. 2, no. 2008.
Sun, W 2009, 'Making Space for the Maid: Metropolitan gaze, peripheral vision and subaltern spectatorship in urban China', Feminist Media Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 57-72.View/Download from: Publisher's site
During three months of fieldwork in Beijing in 2005, I rented an apartment in an eighteen-story residential compound (xiaoqu). On my first day, while waiting for the lift, I overheard two residents chatting. From what they were saying, I gathered that one of them was an information technology (IT) consultant. So while we traveled in the lift together, I asked him if he knew what I would need to do to access a local dial-up service. He gave me some advice, and I thanked him for doing so. But just before he stepped out of the lift, he turned and suddenly asked me, Where do you come from? Not wanting to hold up the lift for too long I gave him a short but true answer: I said I came from Anhui. He looked puzzled, Are you for real? Yes, of course. Why do you ask? I replied. Well, I didnt think an Anhui person would need to know anything about Internet dial-up!
Wang Xiaoshuai's acclaimed film, Beijing Bicycle, centres on the experiences of a young migrant man in Beijing, Guei. One day, Guei and his friend observe with desire a woman whom they assume to be an extremely wealthy city dweller. She is an attractive young woman who is seen languishing on her apartment balcony or walking down the street, clearly aware of the gaze on her, although she exudes an air of aloofness. When Gueis fellow rural migrant worker, who has his eyes on the young woman, realises that she is in fact a rural migrant domestic worker who likes to dress up in her employers clothes when left alone in the house, he blurts out, ``If I had known that she was one of us, I would have . . . His monologue is deliberately cut short and audiences are left to guess what he would have done if he had known the true identity of the object of his desire. The maids fantasy about becoming a fashionable city resident ends up as a nightmare, as, towards the end of the film, she is caught trying to steal clothes from her employer and run away. The maid is able to ``deceive her rural and city spectators for a long time, mainly because she does not look fundamentally different from others around her. With efficient camouflage of her rurality speaking little, hence revealing no accent; dressing fashionably; and looking aloof she manages to pass for an urban young woman consumer. This characters masquerade illustrates some of the issues that will be explored in this article. The difference between this woman and more privileged urban women is not primarily a matter of racialised or ethnicised difference, but rather hinges on differences of dress, bodily deportment, speech, manners and etiquette.
Sun, W 2008, 'Brand New China: Advertising, Media and Commercial Culture, by Jing Wang', Asian Studies Review, vol. 32, no. 4.
The post-socialist Chinese city has been an important site to explore the formation of modernity in its everyday shape and manifestations. A common way of understanding urban experiences is through the prism of consumption. Rural migrants in the city cannot compare with urban residents in terms of their consumption level, but they are seen to be equally enthusiastic in partaking in consumption, and their identities are also believed to be (re)shaped by consumption practices. Drawing on several years' extensive ethnographic research in Beijing, this article suggests that these scenarios cannot adequately account for the diversity and complexity of rural migrants' experience in the consuming city. In this article, I put forward a methodological argument for considering the lived spatiality of ethnographic subjects in conceiving and considering consumption. Then, through an investigation of how migrant domestic workers use urban spaces, I consider the 'dialectic of freedom and constraint' which marks their agency and their individual choices and decisions. Finally, I explore the social production of space by considering migrant domestic workers' 'subversive' behaviours within rather than in opposition to the capitalist commercial logic and space. This discussion demonstrates that consumption practices are at the same time spatial practices, and despite the many obstacles and constraints, migrant domestic workers are actively availing themselves of the opportunities that the city has to offer. This creative process is crucial if we are to gain a new and more nuanced understanding of consumption as a social practice. I further argue that it is also a process by which rural migrants hold on to their sense of dignity and self-respect in an environment of exclusion and discrimination.
Sun, W 2008, 'Made in China: women factory workers in a global workplace, by Pun Ngai', Society and Space, vol. 26, no. 1.
The widespread phenomenon of outsourcing domestic work has profoundly altered the household life styles of urban families and reworked the division of labor at home. However, the extent to which urban consumers depend on the labor and service provided by the rural migrant women is by no means indicative of the degree of "harmony" and civility between the two groups. While the Chinese news media, with its urban and middle-class clientele base, see little chance of selling pictures or headlines featuring the everyday struggles of disenfranchised social groups such as rural migrant women who are employed as domestic workers, they have exercised unprecedented freedom in publishing stories about criminality and sexuality. With the figure of the maid becoming increasingly ubiquitous in urban households, urban consumers of paid domestic work also get a regular dose of "maid stories" in their everyday media consumption. Combining ethnography with detailed media analyses, this article examines the range of gendered positions and modes of sexual subjectivity which have been articulated in these stories. It shows that in a number ways the emergence of a new sexual sensibility for urban, middle-class men is contingent on the exclusion of subject positions for, and the derogation of, the "other" womanthe "intimate stranger" at home.
Sun, W 2007, 'Dancing with Chains: Significant Moments on China Central Television', International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 187-204.
More than a decade after television became the medium of mass consumption in the West, Raymond Williams published Television: Technology and Cultural Form in 1974. Raymond Williams is interested in television not as the outcome of an isolated aesthetic adventure or technological triumph, but as the manifestation of a profoundly social process. Television arrived in China initially as both metonym and metaphor for the state's socialist modernity, but has now also become a symptom of the triumph of global capitalism. In what way can Williams' insights on television technology and social change be revisited and made meaningful to the socio-economic specificity of China in the reform era? By looking at some significant moments on China Central Television (CCTV) in the era of economic reforms since the 1980s, this article offers an account of the ways in which television as a form of technology plays a crucial role in the various junctures of China's social formations. In doing so, I seek to unravel the tension and dynamism between the creative and innovative impulse of television technology as an industry, the desire of the Chinese state for hegemonic control, and the naked ambition of the global economy ushered in by the Chinese state
Sun, W 2005, 'Media and the Chinese Diaspora: Community, Consumption and Transnational Imagination', Journal of Chinese Overseas, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 65-86.
This paper is concerned with the formation of a global diasporic Chinese mediasphere. In the first part, I will delineate the imbricative relationships between community, commerce, and cultural consumption of the Chinese media what I perceive to be the three conceptual nodes constituting the analytical framework within which meanings of Chineseness are constructed and contested. In the second part, I will further argue that a global diasporic Chinese imagination is inherently transnational, and central to the formation of such transnational imaginary is what I refer to as the transnational mediasphere which, as I will demonstrate, is a global phenomenon nevertheless inflected with local concerns. I will end the paper with some thoughts on how best to approach this extremely complex and ever changing phenomenon, tentatively suggesting some points of entry into a place- and context-specific understanding of the production and consumption of the Chinese language media and the crucial role it plays in the formation of a Chinese transnational imagination.
Sun, W 2002, 'The Invisible Entrepreneur: The Case of Anhui Women', Provincial China, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 178-195.
Sun, W 2001, 'A Chinese in the New World: Television Dramas, Global Cities, and Travels to Modernity', Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 81-94.
In Pursuit of Melbourne (Zuei Zhu Mo Er Ben) is a multiple-episode television drama produced jointly by China Central Television (CCTV) and Xiamen Television in southern China. When it was shown nationally early in 1999, it was watched with intense interest by my parents, my brother and my sister-in-law living in Anhui Province. Anticipating my visit from Australia later that year, they had taped the show in case I was interested. On arriving home, I was initially reluctant to embark on a viewing marathon, considering I had only one week in China. However, once I started, I realized I could not really stop. I spent most of that week sitting in front of the television set with my family, obsessively watching a local production about the life of a group of Chinese now living in Australia.
Sun, W 2001, 'A Tale of Two Chinese Villages: Television, Women and Modernity', Asian Journal of Communication, vol. Special, no. Special.
Sun, W 2001, 'Media Events or Media Stories? Time, Space and Chinese (Trans)nationalism', International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 25-43.
Taking Dayan and Katzs argument of media event as the point of departure, I want to not only assess the relevance of media event theory to a non liberal-democratic media system such as China but, more importantly, to argue that `media events need to be studied in juxtaposition to what I refer to as `media stories in order to yield insight into the complexity and ambiguity of the Chinese mediasphere. I show that whereas media events are about spectacles, official time and grand history, media stories are mostly about everyday life, unofficial time and individual memory. I argue that the co-existence of conflicting temporalities between the official media and commercial media contributes to a process of fragmentation and dispersal of a sense of national space and time. I further argue that although media events and media stories perform different spatial-temporal duties and functions in the way in which the nation is imagined, there is a complicity between nationalist discourses and transnational processes in contemporary China.
Sun, W 2001, 'To Go Or Not To Go to America: Cinema and The Desiring City', Hybridity: Journal of Cultures, Texts and Identities, vol. Special.
Sun, W & Donald, SJ 2001, 'Going Home: History, Nation, and the Mournful Landscapes of Home - China in the Silk Screen Season', Metro, vol. 129.
Sun, W 2000, 'Internet, Memory and the Chinese Diaspora: The Case of the Nanjing Massacre Websites', New Formations, vol. 40.
Sun, W 1998, 'Diaspora On-line and Postnational Chineseness', Asia Pacific MediaEducator, vol. 5.
Although patriotism has always been a basic tenet of China's state ideology, the Chinese Communist Party is no longer the sole guardian of national identity in the 1990s. With the diversification and pluralisation of Chinese media in the age of commercialisation, nationalism is functioning as a form of consensus beyond the bounds of official culture. This paper is a close-up analysis of the deployment of an array of discursive forms and strategies for nationalistic purposes in the Chinese media in the 1990s. It shows that the content of nationalism has become increasingly fluid. Moreover, the circulation of nationalist sentiments has become a two-way traffic, between the central and regional China, the state and the individual The paper argues that such changes are the result of the decentralisation in social, economic and cultural spheres within China and increasing globalisation of the Chinese community. © 1998 Carfax Publishing Ltd.
Sun, W 1998, 'Love Your Country in Your Own Way: Chinese Nationalism, Media and Public Culture', Social Semiotics, vol. 8, no. 2.
Sun, W 1998, 'Monster Houses, Yacht Immigrants, and the Vancouver Sun: Media and Chinese Ethnicity from a Canadian Perspective', Australian Canadian Studies, vol. 15, no. 2.
Sun, W 1997, 'From Metaphor to Irony: Orient(alis)ing the Self in Australian News of the Other', The UTS Review, vol. 3, no. 2.
Sun, W 1996, 'In Search of New Frameworks: Issues in the Study of Chinese Media in the Era of Reform', Media International Australia, vol. 79, pp. 40-48.
Sun, W 1995, 'People's Daily, China and Japan: A Narrative Analysis', Gazette: The International Journal for Mass Communication Studies, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 195-207.
This article is a narrative analysis of the People's Daily's coverage of Sino-Japanese relationship since 1978. The point of departure for this article is that propaganda in China can be better understood in the context of Chinese foreign policies news. It argues that criticism of Chinese media needs to avoid a reductionist approach of quantitative content analysis. Studying propaganda as narrative forms and strategies rather than as bias and distortions allows us to delve deeper into the processes by which events are transformed into politically potent symbols.
Sun, W & Yang, L 2020, 'Love stories in contemporary China: cultural production in the new millennium' in Love Stories in China The Politics of Intimacy in the Twenty-First Century, Routledge.
The Politics of Intimacy in the Twenty-First Century Wanning Sun, Ling Yang ...
Romancing the Internet: Producing and Consuming Chinese Web Romance. ...
Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 21 (2): 126–166. ... New York: Routledge.
Sun, W 2019, 'China's Vessel on the Voyage of Globalization' in Retis, J & Tsagarousiano, R (eds), the Handbook of Diasporas. Media and Culture, Wiley Blackwell, USA, pp. 165-178.View/Download from: Publisher's site
As part of its “media going global” initiative, China's state media have been striving to forge partnerships and cooperation with ethnic Chinese media all over the world. But has China's soft power push had an impact on the nature and operation of media in the Chinese diaspora, and if so, how? What are the main continuing and emerging political, cultural, and economic forces affecting the contours of the diasporic Chinese media landscape, and to what extent are these forces shaping the relationship between China's state media and diasporic Chinese media? Approaching these questions through an extended case study of the Chinese media in Australia and in particular the Singtao Daily, this chapter aims to update the formations of diasporic Chinese media, while at the same time pointing to a major rethinking of transnationalism, the Sinophone world, the digital diaspora, and the diasporic public sphere.
Sun, W 2019, 'Vessels of Soft Power Going Out to Sea: Chinese Diasporic Media and the Politics of Allegiance' in Soft Power with Chinese Characteristics China's Campaign for Hearts and Minds, pp. 81-99.
This book examines the Chinese Communist Party's attempts to improve China's image around the world, thereby increasing its "soft power.
Sun, W 2018, 'Foreign correspondents in China: partner or liability in China's public diplomacy' in Thussu, DK, de Burgh, H & Shi, A (eds), China's Media Go Global, Routledge, Oxon OX, pp. 199-212.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The importance of influence through cultural exchanges has long been recognised by governments around the world, and the Chinese government is no exception. Scholars (Zhang, 2013, 2016; Rawnsley, 2012) have observed that China has embraced the idea of soft power with overwhelming enthusiasm and has adopted soft power as a national policy. In its efforts to increase its state-centric and culture-focused soft power to secure an international environment conducive to its devel-opment and to generate goodwill abroad for its economic rise, Confucius Institutes (CIs) were established as part of China’s ‘going out’ strategy.
According to the website of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, the Office of Chinese Language Council International, known as Hanban, 500 CIs and 1,000 Confucius Classrooms (CCs) have sprung up on campuses around the world since 2004. 1 Owned and overseen by Hanban, CIs, together with CCs, claim to be non-governmental, non-profit educational initiatives affiliated to the Chinese Ministry of Education. They partner with universities (for CIs) and colleges/schools (for CCs) or other educational institutions across the globe to provide Chinese language instruction, and scholarships for students to study in China and to promote greater understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture. Hanban provides partner uni-versities and colleges/schools with grants of about $100,000 to $150,000 to cover the cost of set-up. Once established, Hanban funds the institutes’ operations jointly with the host institutions. Hanban also provides teachers from China and supplies its own books, videos and other teaching materials to the institutes (Lumsden, 2015).
Between 2004 and 2011, Hanban spent an estimated $500 million establishing and funding CIs around the world (ibid.). CIs have thus become a global phenomenon across the world and have established partnerships with prestigious universities. However, since the first CI was established in 2004, CIs around t...
Sun, W 2018, 'Slow Boat from China: public discourses behind the 'going global' media policy' in Ang, I, Yudhishthir Raj, I & Mar, P (eds), Cultural Diplomacy: Beyond the National Interest?, Routledge, London, pp. 36-54.
Sun, W 2018, 'Soft power by accident or by design: If You Are the One and Chinese television' in Voci, P & Luo, H (eds), Screening China's Soft Power, Routledge, UK, pp. 196-211.
Through analyses of film festivals, CCTV, Confucius Institutes, auteurs, blockbusters, reality TV, and online digital cultures, this book exposes the limitations of China's officially promoted soft power in both conception and practice, and ...
Sun, W, Fitzgerald, J & Gao, J 2018, 'From multicultural ethnic migrants to the new players of China's public diplomacy: The Chinese in Australia' in China's Rise and the Chinese Overseas, Routledge, USA, pp. 55-74.View/Download from: Publisher's site
In this chapter, we unpack the myriad and specific ways in which the rest of the world – as an array of potential destinations for China’s outbound migration – reacts and responds to China’s rise. Taking Chinese migration to Australia as a case study, we argue that it is insufficient to treat China’s rise as a stand-alone exogenous factor. We first offer a historical account of Chinese migration to Australia in earlier decades from South China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Second, we trace the phenomenal growth of migration from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since the inception of the economic reforms era and China’s open-door policy. Third, focusing on the post-millennium decades, we juxtapose the wildly differing expectations that Australia and China have in relation to Chinese migrants as potential agents of public diplomacy for these nations. Finally, we present some preliminary evidence pointing to the willingness of Australia’s Chinese migrant community to participate on behalf of China in its public diplomacy efforts. Our discussion shows that, in studying China’s outbound migration, China’s rise needs to be considered as intersecting with other structural processes, particularly the racial politics and immigration policies in the host country.
Xu, J & Sun, W 2018, 'Media Since 1949: Changes and Continuities' in Wu, W (ed), The Sage Handbook of Contemporary China, Sage, pp. 1172-1192.
Lei, W, Gorfinkel, L & Sun, W 2016, 'The Urban-Rural Divide in China's Cultural Industries: The Case of Chinese Radio' in Keane, M (ed), Handbook of Cultural and Creative Industries in China, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, pp. 259-275.View/Download from: Publisher's site
During most of Mao-era China (1949–76), newspaper readership was limited to political and educated elites. Television was still in its developmental stage. The dominant mass medium, radio broadcasting, was firmly under the control of the Chinese Communist Party and part of the hierarchically and bureaucratically organized national propaganda system (Liu 1975). During this time radio played a key role in the mission of building a socialist society, a society that aimed to eliminate inequalities between rich and poor, and between urban and rural Chinese. After the implementation of economic reforms from the late 1970s, the state gradually began applying a system of marketization to the broadcasting sector. Among the first Mainland Chinese radio stations to change their approach was Guangdong People’s Radio, which had to compete with the more entertaining and less preachy style of the Hong Kong-based channels that local audiences could receive from just across the border. The launch of Pearl River Economic Radio in 1986, which mirrored the style of its Hong Kong counterparts, including well-known personalities, talk back, economic news and pop music, was a great success and led to many other local radio channels across China following suit (Chan 1994). Due to massively reduced funding from the state, broadcasters at all levels were reshaped to operate as part of a state-owned but market-funded system.
Sun, W 2016, 'Cultural Politics of Class: Workers and Peasants as Historical Subjects' in Guo, Y (ed), Handbook on Class and Social Stratification in China, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, pp. 107-127.
The Handbook on Class and Social Stratification in China explores critical contemporary topics which are rarely put in perspective or schematized, therefore placing it at the forefront of progressive scholarship.
Sun, W 2016, 'Mediatization of yangsheng: The political and cultural economy of health education through media in China' in Martin, F & Lewis, T (eds), Lifestyle Media in Asia Consumption, Aspiration and Identity, Routledge, New York, pp. 67-81.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Sun, W 2016, 'The Conundrum of the "Honorary Whites": Media and being Chinese in South Africa' in Sun, W & Sinclair, J (eds), Media and Communication in the Chinese Diaspora: Rethinking Transnationalism, Routledge, UK, pp. 32-47.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Sun, W 2016, 'The Greying of Greenspeak? Environmental Issues, Media Discourses, and Consumer Practices in China' in Lewis, T (ed), Green Asia Ecocultures, Sustainable Lifestyles and Ethical Consumption, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 99-113.
Acutely aware of the fraught nature of the debate surrounding the concept of the public sphere both outside and inside the Chinese context, Yang and Calhoun are careful to point out that they adopt a more “relaxed” notion of the public sphere, taking the term to refer loosely to “social space” or “public space”. With this proviso in place, the authors simply define their use of the public sphere to mean a social space that consists of “discourses, publics engaged in communication, and the media of communication” (Yang and Calhoun 2007, p. 214). The authors pointed to a “fledging green public sphere” in China, which they see as including the active participation of state-controlled media as well as commercial media. This is because, they suggest, the Chinese government supported media coverage of environmental issues in the first place; commercial media had gained more freedom as a result of reforms; and many media professionals themselves were active environmentalists. Yang and Calhoun’s view is somewhat reinforced in an analysis of 10 Chinese newspapers’ coverage of environmental issues from 2008 to 2011 (Tong 2014). Adopting a quantitative framing method, the study finds that Chinese journalists, enjoying more autonomy in covering environmental problems than other issues, demonstrate a critical reflective outlook in their coverage of environmental risks.
Sun, W & Gorfinkel, L 2016, 'Television, Scale and Place-Identity in the PRC: Provincial, National and Global Influences from 1958 to 2013' in Tay, J & Turner, G (eds), Television Histories in Asia: Issues and Contexts, Taylor & Francis, USA, pp. 19-37.
Sun, W & Sinclair, J 2016, 'Introduction: Rethinking Chinese Diasporic Media' in Sun, W & Sinclair, J (eds), Media and Communication in the Chinese Diaspora: Rethinking Transnationalism, Routledge, UK, pp. 1-14.
Sun, W 2015, 'Workers and Peasants as Historical Subjects: The Formation of Working Class Media Cultures in China' in Rawnsley, G & Rawnsley M-Y (eds), Routledge Handbook of Chinese Media, Routledge, London, pp. 239-249.
Sun, W 2014, 'Mediatization with Chinese Characteristics: Political Legitimacy, Public Diplomacy and the New Art of Propaganda' in Lundby, K (ed), Mediatization of Communication, De Gruyter Mouton, Berlin, pp. 87-105.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Sun, W 2013, 'China’s Rise and (Trans)National Connections: The Global Diasporic Chinese Mediasphere' in Tan Chee-Beng (ed), Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Diaspora, Routledge, New York, pp. 433-445.
Sun, W 2013, 'Inequality and culture: a new pathway to understanding social inequality in China' in Sun, W & Guo, Y (eds), Unequal China: Political Economy and the Cultural Politics of Inequality, Routledge, UK, pp. 27-42.
Sun, W 2012, 'The Poetry of Spiritual Homelessness: A Creative Practice of Coping with Industrial Alienation' in Andrew Kipnes (ed), Chinese Modernity and the Individual Psyche, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, pp. 67-85.
Indust rialization involves a range of spatia l and institutional practices that "turn a young and rural body into an industri alized and productive laborer" (Pun 2005: 77), tra nsform ing " lazy" a nd "unproductive" laborers " bodies and minds, behaviours and beliefs, gestures and habits, and attitudes and aptitudes" (79). These practices incl ude placi ng the body on ind ividu ated positions on the assembly line (Rofel 1999), and imposing the t imeta ble. Note t he followi ng poem about how a dago"g (working for the boss) migrant reacts to the factory bell:
Mapping Media in China is the first book-length study that goes below the 'national' scale to focus on the rich diversity of media in China from local, provincial and regional angles. China's media has played a crucial role in shaping and directing the country's social and cultural changes, and whilst these shifts have often been discussed as a single and coherent phenomenon, this ignores the vast array of local and regional variations within the country's borders. This book explores media as both a reflection of the diversity within China and as an active agent behind these growing differences. It examines the role of media in shaping regional, provincial and local identities through the prism of media economics and technology, media practices, audiences, as well as media discourses. The book covers a wide range of themes, including civil society, political resistance, state power and the production and consumption of place-specific memory and imagination. With contributions from around the world, including original ethnographic material from scholars based in China, Mapping Media in China is an original book which spans a broad range of disciplines. It will be invaluable to both students and scholars of Chinese and Asian studies, media and communication studies, geography, anthropology and cultural studies. © 2012 Wanning Sun and Jenny Chio.
Sun, W 2011, 'Maid as Metaphor: Dagongmei and a New Pathway to Chinese Transnational Capital' in Hegde, RS (ed), Circuits of Visibility: Gender and Transnational Media Cultures, New York University Press, 2011, pp. 196-211.
refereed research book chapter
Sun, W & Zhao, Y 2009, 'Television culture with 'Chinese characteristics': the politics of compassion and education' in Turner, G & Tay, J (eds), Television Studies After TV: Understanding Television in the Post-Broadcast Era, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 96-104.
Sun, W 2008, 'Maids in the Televisual City: Competing Tales of Post-Socialist Modernity' in Zhu, Y, Keane, M & Bai, R (eds), TV Drama In China, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, pp. 145-156.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Sun, W 2008, 'Maids in the Televisual City: Competing Tales of Post-Socialist Modernity' in Zhu Ying (ed), Television Dramas in China, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, pp. 89-102.
Chinese television dramas over the past few decades have seen the rise and decline of various narratives: stories of successful entrepreneurs, stories of Chinese going to live overseas, anti-corruption political drama, crime and police drama, not to mention epic historical dramas reinterpreting Chinese historical figures and events. None of these, however, quite captures the imagination of urban residents as vividly as narratives of ordinary people living mundane lives in their homes on an everyday basis. And no other narratives speak to the emerging urban middle-class's fear and anxiety about the urban "other" more palpably than the stories of the maid. For the first time since the founding of the PRC, the relaxing of the hukou system unleashed massive rural-to-urban migration, which has permanently and profoundly changed the streetscape of the Chinese city as well as the habitat of its residents.
Sun, W 2008, 'Men, Women and the Maid: At Home With the New Rich' in Goodman, DSG (ed), The New Rich in China: Future Rulers, Present Lives, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 89-102.
Sun, W 2008, 'The Curse of the Everyday: Politics of Representation and New Social Semiotics in Post-Socialist China' in Sen, K & Lee, T (eds), Political Regimes and the Media in Asia, Routledge, UK, pp. 31-48.
In the popular sector of international media, especially visual media such as television, China is represented as embracing capitalism at a phenomenal speed, swept along by consumerism, market liberalism, globalization and technological convergence. Stories ranging from the conspicuous consumption of the "new rich," the emergence of the middle-class, the "explosive" growth of Internet users, mobile phone owners or car buyers for that matter - usually complete with figures and statistics intended to show staggering increase - to the triumphant arrival of Rupert Murdoch's News Corps, fall comfortably into this narrative framework.
Sun, W 2008, 'The Curse of the Everyday: Politics of Representation and New Social Semiotics in Post-socialist China' in Sen, K & Lee, T (eds), Politics, Media and Regime Change in Asia, Routledge, London, pp. 31-48.
Sun, W 2006, 'Anhui Baomu in Shanghai: Gender, Class and A Sense of Place' in Wang Jing (ed), Locating China: Space, Place and Popular Culture, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 171-189.
Sun, W 2006, 'The Leaving of Anhui: The Southward Journey Towards the Knowledges Class' in Oakes, T & Schein, L (eds), Translocal China: Linkages, Identities and the Re-imagining of Space, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 238-261.
Popular narratives of mobility, if and when constructed in reference to Anhui, are usually framed within a discourse of rural poverty and economic hardship, and as such, tend to mobilise the trope of history. In fact, the mere mention ofAnhui in China immediately conjures up, in most people's minds, the image of the domestic maid. As early as the 1960s and 1970s, Anhui, a largely rural province in eastern China, became the source ofa seemingly endless supply of maids for middle class families in more prosperous regions such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, and Beijing. This phenomenon therefore represents a particular form of gendered mobilityin whichrural, poor, andilliterate womenfrom northern provinces travel to large cities like Beijing to perform domestic servitude. My preliminary research has found that the "Anhui maid" is seen as a metaphor for the gendered, unequal, and uneven relationship between Anhui and developed places such as Shanghai and Beijing (Sun 2005). Mobile, plentiful, and available at any time, she also embodies the enduring potency of such a metaphor. The Anhui maid is a national brand name, a product, whose cachet, authenticity, and desirability are made possible not in spite of, but precisely because of, the uniqueness of Anhui as a poor, backward, and un-modern place. In this sense, the association ofAnhui with poverty operates as both a metaphor-Anhui is like a maid-and metonym-the maid stands for Anhui.
Feng, C & Zhan, C 2006, 'Openness, change and translocality: new migrants' identification with Hainan' in Oakes, T & Schein, L (eds), Translocal China: Linkages, Identities and the Re-imagining of Space, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 74-92.
Sun, W 2005, 'Di da guoji hua dushi: dianshiju yu kongjian xiang xiang (Arriving in the Global City: Television Dramas and Spatial Imagination)' in Chunjin, Q & Zhu, Y (eds), Zhongmei Dianshi Bijiao Yanjour (Television Drama: Chinese and US Perspectives), Sanlian Press, Shanghai, China, pp. 82-102.
Sun, W 2004, 'Indoctrination, Fetishization, and Compassion: Media Constructions of the Migrant Woman' in Gaetano, AM & Jacka, T (eds), On The Move: Women in Rural-to-Urban Migration in Contemporary China, Columbia University Press, New York, USA, pp. 109-128.
Sun, W 2004, 'Ren, tuxiang yu difang: xiang (People, Images and Places: A new Way of Conceptualising Flow)' in Guo Zhenzhi (ed), Quangqiu Hua Yua Wenhua Jiaoliu (Globalization and Intnercultural Media and Communication), Beijing Institute of Broadcasting Press, Beijing, pp. 119-130.
Sun, W 2004, 'The Maid in China: opportunities, challenges and the story of becoming modern' in McLaren, AE (ed), Chinese Women: Working and Living, RoutledgeCurzon, London, UK, pp. 65-82.
Sun, W 2003, 'Anhui' in Das Grosse CHina-Lexikon: Geschichte, Geographie, Gesellschaft, Politik, Wirtschaft, Bildung, Wissenshaft, Kultur, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Hamburg, pp. 14-16.
Sun, W 2002, 'Discourse of Poverty: Weakness, Potential and Provincial Identity in Anhui' in John Fitzgerald (ed), Rethinking China's Provinces, Routledge, London, pp. 153-178.
Sun, W 2002, 'Semiotic over-determination or 'indoctritainment'; television, citizenship and the Olympic Games' in Donald, S, Keane, M & Hong, Y (eds), Media in China: Consumption, Content and Crisis, RoutledgeCurzon, London, UK, pp. 116-127.
Sun, W 2008, 'Mobile Bodies, Mobiles Signs: The Story of Rural Migrants in Urban China', Globalized Bodies and Embodied Globalization in Asia-Pacific, Melbourne University.
Sun, W 2007, 'Just Looking: Maids in the City and Spatial Turn to Consumption?', Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Sun, W 2007, 'Maid in the Panoptic Home', International Symposium on Labour, Economics and Migration, University of Western Australia.
Sun, W 2006, 'Between net-mum and working sisters: IT technologies and the question of power', New Media and Citizenship in China, Wisconsin University, Madison, Wisconsin.
Sun, W 2006, 'Maid in China: Gendered Mobilities between the State and Market', Asian Migration Conference, SUNY Binghamton, New York.
Sun, W 2005, 'Beijing 2008, Human Rights and Media Games', SUNY Binghamton.
Sun, W 2005, 'The Maid and Her Master: Refashioning Masculinities at Home', American Anthropology Association Meeting, Washington, DC.
Sun, W 2004, 'Beneath the Surface of a Good Place: Conversations with Some Domestic Workers', International Workshop on Provincial China, Hunter Valley, NSW.
Sun, W 2004, 'From the Sensational to the Mundane: Citizenship, Human Rights, and Rural Migrants in the Chinese Media', Empire, Media and Poltical Regimes in Asia, Murdoch University.
Sun, W 2002, 'Anhui Maids and Translocal Imagination', Workshop on Provincial China, Hainan, China.
Sun, W 2002, 'Beautiful New World: Cinema, City and Transnational Imagination', Pub Talk, Fremantle, Western Australia.
Sun, W 2002, 'Investigative reporting and Citizenship in China', Mediating Human Rights and Democracy: Indonesia, Australia and the Netherlands, Perth, Western Australia.
Sun, W 2002, 'People, Image and Place: New Ways of Conceptualising Flow', Media in China: Content Consumption and Crisis, Melbourne.
Sun, W 2001, 'Anhui Working Girls in Shanghai', Workshp on Provincial China, Hangzhou, China.
Sun, W 2001, 'Space and Mobility: New Ways of Thinking About Media and Social Change in China', Cultural Studies Association of Australia Conference 'What's Left of Theory?', Hobart, Tasmania.
Sun, W 2000, 'Meaningful Games: Australian Images, Chinese Viewers', Television: Past, Present and Future, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Sun, W 2000, 'Negotiating Chineseness Through the Borrowed Mirror: Television Dramas, Videos, and Exile Audiences', Australian Anthropology Society Conference, Perth, Western Australia.
Sun, W 2000, 'The Anhui Working Girl: Gendered Mobilities and Social Change', Provincial China Workshop, Taiyuan, China.
Sun, W 2000, 'The Politics of Compassion: Journalism, Class Formation and Social Change in China', Communication and Cultural Identity in Asia, Mt Tamborine, Queensland.
Sun, W 2000, 'Why Bashing Americans is Good Business: Nationalism, Best-Sellers and Media War', 13th Asian Studies Association Conference, Melbourne.
Sun, W 1999, 'Between the State and the Market: Nationalism and Popular Culture in China', Provincial China Workshop, Hong Kong.
Sun, W 2015, 'Catch up on the Forum Discussion featuring "If You Are The One" host Meng Fei', University of Western Sydney.
Sun, W Pearls and Irritations 2019, Another Non-Story on China – An Example of Selective Framing, Australia.
Sun, W The Conversation 2019, Chinese propaganda goes tech-savvy to reach a new generation, Australia.
Sun, W Australian National University 2018, Decrying Chinese-language media risks ostracising Chinese-Australians, Canberra.
Sun, W 2017, Academic cooperation with Chinese characteristics, The Interpreter, Sydney Australia.
Sun, W 2017, After the streaming ‘gold rush’ – a guide to China’s video crackdown, The Conversation.
Sun, W Conversation 2017, China bans streaming video as it struggles to keep up with live content.
Sun, W Fairfax 2017, Chinese soft power is alive and well in Australia, Australian Financial Review.
Sun, W Australia-China Research Institute 2017, Chinese students in Australia - with Wanning Sun (podcast), Sydney.
Sun, W Australian National University 2017, Chinese-language media and social cohesion in Australia, pp. 31-32, East Asia Forum Quarterly, vol 9, no 4..
Sun, W The Guardian 2017, 'My parents say hurry up and find a girl': China's millions of lonely 'leftover men'.
Sun, W Vision Times 2017, Obsession with China’s Influence Is Hurting Australia’s Public Diplomacy Agenda.
Sun, W 2016, Australian media deals with China - blind spots, or troubling hypocrisy?, The Conversation.
Sun, W 2016, Beyond the war of words: how might the Australian media's coverage of China affect social cohesion?, The Conversation.
Sun, W 2016, Chinese-language Media in Australia: Developments, Challenges and Opportunities, UTS Australia-China Relations institute, Major Report Commissioned by Australia-China Relations Institute.
Sun, W 2014, If You Are the One: Dating shows, reality TV, and the politics of the personal in urban China, Australian Review of Public Affairs.
Sun, W 2011, Different media: Why universities should learn from international students, The Conversation.
Sun, W 2019, 'Another Non-Story on China – An Example of Selective Framing', John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations.
Sun, W 2019, 'Australian universities and the anxiety of Chinese influence', ABC.
Sun, W 2019, 'China Matters Explores: We Chat?'.
Sun, W 2019, 'China: Chinese Australians are feeling the heat, whether they support China or Australia', John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations.
Sun, W 2019, 'Chinese propaganda goes tech-savvy to reach a new generation', The Conversation.
Sun, W 2019, 'Chinese social media platform WeChat could be a key battleground in the federal election', The Conversation.
Sun, W 2019, 'Is the “biggest story” getting the best coverage?', Inside Story.
Sun, W 2019, 'JASON YOUNG: China in a time of change', Pearls and Irritations.
Sun, W 2019, 'National security or xenophobic conspiracy?', ABC.
Sun, W 2019, 'New research shows Chinese migrants don’t always side with China and are happy to promote Australia', The Conversation.
Sun, W 2019, 'Political engagement on WeChat', The Saturday Paper.
Sun, W 2019, 'What do we learn about the experience of Mandarin-speaking migrants from Chinese-language media in Australia?', ABC Religion & Ethics.
Sun, W 2019, 'Who do Chinese-Australian voters trust for their political news on WeChat?', The Conversation.
Anderson, C 2018, 'Is China a Surveillance State?', 2SER.
Australia-China Relations Institute 2018, 'Chinese Students in Australia', podcast.
Doogue, G 2018, 'Tensions in Australia-China relationship affect local community', Saturday Extra on Radio National ABC.
Sun, W 2018, 'How Australia’s Mandarin speakers get their news', The Conversation.
Sun, W 2018, 'Is Anti-China Rhetoric Harming Social Cohesion in Australia?', Pearls and Irritations.
Sun, W 2018, 'Megaphone diplomacy is good for selling papers, but harmful for Australia-China relations', The Conversation.
Walkley Foundation 2018, 'Walkley Foundation 'China in the Media Talk'', podcast.
Sun, W 2017, 'The Elderly Are Becoming the New Self-Governing Subjects in China'.
Guo, Y, 'Class: the new dirty word'.