Skip to main content
Unpublished Paper
When a Joke is More than a Joke: Humor as a Form of Networked Practice in the Chinese Cyber Public Sphere
American Sociological Association Annual Meeting (Seattle, USA), August 20-23 (2016)
  • Mathew Yates, University of Oxford
  • Reza Hasmath, University of Alberta
Abstract
Received wisdom views political humor, viz. egao, in the Chinese cyber public sphere as a form of resistance and/or a reaction to state control in an authoritarian environment. This study creates and tests a framework that best conceptualizes how different functions of egao are connected with one another: to analyze the patterns of ties that link the different facets of the phenomenon together. The study contends that by framing egao within network society theory, we can appreciate its fluidity and better understand its online ubiquity. Analysis of survey data suggests that it is not the content, but the networked practice of egao that dictates its true function. Namely, the networked practices of netizens (internet citizens) have a formative relationship with their perceptions of, and interactions with, egao. The connectivity netizens feel from engaging in the practice supersedes its content, in terms of value to cyber culture.
Keywords
  • Egao,
  • humor,
  • censorship,
  • network society,
  • Internet,
  • cyber public sphere,
  • China
Publication Date
2016
Citation Information
Yates, M. and Hasmath, R. (2016) "When a Joke is More than a Joke: Humor as a Form of Networked Practice in the Chinese Public Sphere", Paper Presented at American Sociological Association Annual Meeting (Seattle, USA), August 20-23.