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Social Sciences
Book Review
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Review Of The Internet, Social Media, And A Changing China (Book Review Sample)


The paper should be written as an expository essay, presenting a balanced analysis of the book. The best papers will synthesize and incorporate key concepts and readings from the course as they connect with the book.

Suggested structure:

  • Summary of the book (1-2 pages). Include only the details of the book that support your contextualization findings/arguments.
  • Identification of the author’s background, training, experience, etc., and analysis of resulting approaches, biases, frames, packaging, etc.  (2 pages)
  • Evaluate the book's currency. (1page) Provide updates to the book’s content as needed (keep in mind that by the time any book is published it is already dated…)
  • *Contextualization of book’s findings/comparison with information from course discussions, readings/discussion of related cases (2-3 pages). This is the most important aspect of your essay.

The class main goal is to understand the information society nowadays, please pay particular attention to the analysis of sources the book uses, and whose voices are included, whose appearances are silenced.


Review of The Internet, Social Media, and a Changing China
INTSTDS 4850: Understanding the Global Information Society
Review of The Internet, Social Media, and a Changing China

In the book, the authors highlight the transformation that the new media, social media and the internet have had on modern China. Millions of Chinese use the internet as evidenced by the high subscriptions to Sina Weibo (the Twitter equivalent in China) and Weibo. The new media (internet and social media) has not only provided a way for ordinary citizens to share information and opinions but has also transformed the way that the Chinese authorities communicate with the citizens. The new media has given the Chinese citizens and the civil society a space to discuss legal affairs, politics, and foreign relation policies in ways that could not have been imagined some years back (DeLisle, Goldstein, & Yang, 2016).

This massive growth of social media and the internet has been enabled by technological, economic, and political advancements. The growth of the internet started with the establishment of internet cafes in the 1990s. Computers in homes and offices further spurred this growth. The massive adoption of smartphones by the Chinese population ushered the already expanded new media in the expansive space that it occupies today. The economic reforms of the 1970s resulted in increased literacy levels and urbanization. They also caused an economic boom and more individuals, as well as families, became wealthy. All these new changes increased the demand for internet and social media. The change of the political landscape has also had a considerable impact on the growth of the internet and social media. The most notable change was the commercialization of previously subsidized or closely monitored media. This increased the independence of the media. In pursuit of a larger audience and revenue, the new media turned to the internet and social media, where they share content and engage various audiences (DeLisle, Goldstein, & Yang, 2016).

The ability of the social media to mobilize efforts that might question and challenge the authority of the regime is not lost to the government. This is evidenced by the limited liberalization as well as the various attempts to control the media. However, due to the complexities and the vastness of the online space, these efforts have not achieved the levels of success that could have been achieved in the past. The book reveals that social media and the internet is seen by some people as a tool that promotes authoritarianism by the regime. However, the authors argue that such thinking is pessimistic and simplistic. They argue that social media and the internet have served to keep the administration in check. The efforts by the government to gag it through monitoring and censoring of speech in cyberspace is enough proof. The authors also assert that expectations of rapid changes due to the internet and social media are unrealistic.

Despite the freedom and the ability to influence various policies in the country, the authors accuse the citizens of misusing the social media and internet at times, leading to the emergence of what the authors call the uncivil society. Some of the wrong uses include false accusations, rumor mongering, vicious attacks, among others. This dark side of cyberspace is at times translated into real life, giving life to mob justice and even resulting in death. This poses a threat to the independence of the judiciary. Populism on the internet also hurts Chinese foreign relations.

Through an in-depth analysis of the new media, as well as the political, economic, and foreign spheres in China, the book bears the impacts that the new media has on the Chinese people and government. The authors also explore the sophisticated relationship that ex...

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