Abstract - The Information Society 24(3)

SMS in China: A major Carrier of the Non-official Discourse Universe

Zhou He

As communism loses its tenets as a genuinely believed ideology and becomes a ritualized facet of a regime that strives to prolong and justify its politically and morally shaky mandate, there have emerged two distinct discourse universes in China: the official one and the non-official one. Taking advantage of new communication technologies, the non-official discourse universe extends its boundaries to such platforms as the Internet and SMS messages. This paper examines SMS as a major carrier of the deviant discourse in the following aspects: the development of cell phones from an interpersonal communication technology to a quasi-mass communication channel; the spread of deviant expressions through it; the making of the deviant discourse through SMS; the government’s control over SMS; and the role of SMS in increasingly pluralistic political undercurrents in various discourse universes in China.


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