Research Papers, Day 2

Carol Soon and Jui Liang Sim: Chinese-language bloggers in Singapore: Apoliticised and blogging alone

Abstract: Research on new media such as blogs examines users’ motivations and gratifications, and how individuals and organizations use them for political participation. In Singapore, political blogs, commonly referred to as “socio-political” blogs, have attracted much public scrutiny due to the bloggers’ online and offline challenges of official discourse. While previous research has established the political significance of these blogs, extant scholarship is limited to blogs written in the English language. Little is known about blogs maintained by the Chinese community, the largest ethnic group in multi-racial Singaporean. This study is a first to examine this community and the space they inhabit online. Through content analysis, we identified the characteristics of the Chinese-language blogosphere, and analyzed if Chinese bloggers contribute to public debates and use their blogs for civic engagement. On the whole, the Chinese blogosphere is a highly individualized and a-politicized one. We discuss possible reasons and implications.


Junhua Zhang: An Illusion of E-Democratization – China’s Social Memory in the Country’s Blog Narratives

Abstract: This paper will study the role that new media plays in shaping social memory by exploring China’s grass-root narratives existing in blogs. By conducting a content analysis, the main features of China’s storytellers are illuminated. While emphasizing the role of narratives in shaping a nation’s social memory in China, explanations for the source of a new social memory are being searched. In doing so, the linear-model of cause and effect between technology and social change, including McLuhan’s term “digital village” are being questioned. The author predicts that, under today’s circumstances, China’s memory policy including an internalized self-censorship will still have its effectiveness.


Jing Zeng: Can microblog based political discussion contribute to public deliberation in China?

Abstract: Authoritarian country though it is, various deliberative practices have been deployed by the state in China to promote a sense of the legitimacy of the party’s rule. Over the last decade, these deliberative processes have been expanded to include the Internet, as part of a fast growing e-governance project. More recently, driven by the popularity and influence of micro-blogs, the state has taken measures to harness the microblog-sphere as a new deliberative space. This study attempts to explore the democratic aspirations of micro-blog based political discussion by exploring the deliberative quality of the public’s participation. Both Chinese netizens’ capacity to deliberate and their opportunity and willingness to express dissenting views on micro-blogs are assessed, and the results demonstrate that China’s microblog-based political discussion has already achieved most of the features characteristic of deliberative engagement.  This analysis provides important insights relating to the democratic quality of microblog based deliberation, and breaks new ground in measuring deliberation quality in the Chinese context.


Wilfred Yang Wang: Remaking Guangzhou: Political Engagement and Place-making on Sina Weibo

Abstract: This study uses the concept of ‘place-making’ to consider political engagement on Sina Weibo, one of the most popular microblogging services in China. Besides articulating state-public confrontation during major social controversies, Weibo has been used to recollect and re-narrate the memories of a city, such as Guangzhou, where dramatic social and cultural changes took place during the economic reform era. The Chinese government’s ongoing project to create a culturally indifferent ‘national identity’ triggers a defensive response from local places. Through consuming news and information about leisure and entertainment in Guangzhou, the digital narration of the city becomes an important source for Guangzhou people to learn about their geo-identity, and the kind of rights and responsibility attaching to it.


Natalie Pang and Qinfeng Zhu: How YouTubers saw The Little India Riot

Abstract: On 8 December 2013, citizens witnessed only the second riot in Singapore post-independence, and the first in over 40 years. Involving around 400 rioters and 300 police officers, it resulted in damages to a bus, emergency vehicles, and public property. It has been said to be one of the worst riots in Singapore’s history. News of the riot first broke on YouTube with live footages as the riot unfolded. Using document analysis, the paper analyses responses to the riot by YouTubers, and discusses the role of YouTube in responding to the riot.


Irmgard Wetzstein: From the academic debate to real-world use and back: Theoretical and practical implications of social media as communication channel in crisis and disaster management

Abstract: Crisis and disaster communication has had a long lasting tradition of relying on new information and communication technologies (ICT). Thus, it is not surprising that since their rise, social media have been embraced by crisis communication practice. At the same time, numerous studies and projects have started to shed light on the potential that social media can have in crisis communication. In this paper, we are taking a two-way approach: We first look at crisis communication practice, where social media undoubtedly have started to play an essential role for several reasons; secondly, we look at pertinent research papers and third party funded projects with the help of a recently conducted meta-study. The analysis reveals gaps as regards research and practice, but also between basic and applied research. Based on our findings, we suggest options how to bridge these gaps with the aim to benefit practical crisis communication from research evidence.


Leonidas Anthopoulos: Evaluating Green Smart City’s Sustainability with an Integrated System Dynamics Model

Abstract: Smart cities have evolved from their initial web forms in early ‘90s to their recent and preferable ubiquitous and eco-friendly approaches and various exemplars can be observed around the world. To this effect, the eco-city or green city approach has been introduced and concerns an ideal urban paradigm, in which information and communications technologies (ICT) are combined with energy consumption, waste and traffic management and other practices in order to enhance urban sustainable development. This paper utilizes system dynamics (SD), as a means to capture and evaluate the sustainability performance of a green city.


Montathar Faraon: Positive but skeptical: A study of attitudes towards Internet voting in Sweden

Abstract: This study explored the attitudes of a broad sample of politically interested Swedish voters towards Internet voting. A total of 5683 participants completed a web-based survey concerning participation and security aspects of Internet voting. Attitudes towards Internet voting were positive on the whole and the acceptance of participation in democratic elections using Internet voting was spearheaded by: women, groups with relatively short education, the unemployed and the self-employed. Unlike previous studies, it was found that age was not a significant factor in determining the attitudes towards participation in elections by means of Internet voting. Concerning the security challenges of Internet voting, men were more optimistic than women and participants’ confidence in security increased with age and education length.

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