Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China

Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China
作者: Yongming Zhou
出版社: Stanford University Press
副标题: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China
出版年: 2005-12-16
页数: 290
定价: $24.95
装帧: Paperback
ISBN: 9780804751285

the main aim of this study has been to tackle the complex relationship between technology and society, between the applicability of new information technologies and their political outcomes in concrete Chinese historical context.

the discussions of the previous chapters have shown that not only Chinese attitudes toward adopting telegraphy and the Internet but also foreign pressures on the Chinese to accept these technologies were historically conditioned, ant the two cases are thus very different.
强调历史情境,以及receive context, 的不同。

Moreover, the historical context has also shaped the particular paradigm in terms of which many of us view information technology.
in the late 19th century, few attempted to relate China”s adaptation of telegraphy to political reform of the Qing empire.过去很少有人把中国社会采用电报,与清政府的政治改革联系起来,
但是今天很多人则直接论断, 因特网会带给中国民主。

today, however, many take for granted that the Internet plays a clear-cut political role in the PRC, unconscious of the value-laden implication of this sweeping assumption.


this volume is largely concerned with how telegraphy and the Internet have helped to make Chinese politics more public, but its focus is not on the technology per se but on the contexts with with they have influenced politics.
无可否认,网络确实扩大了中国公共政治空间, 但是不能把这个归结到技术变革本身,而是他们发生作用,和产生影响的情境。

but the actual realization of their potential has depended more on what i call, the “receiving context” of the technology;s introduction.

接收情景的定义, This receiving context is the multi-layered, constantly changing historical environment in which the technology is perceived, adopted, controlled and applied.


the receiving context not only affects how the technology is used but also how the information it conveys is interpreted .
it cannot be overemphasized that, 不容忽视的是!
among all the factors that made the circular telegram so popular, the most important one was the rise of modern Chinese nationalism. 这个观点很强大,正是崛起的民族主义,推动了电报的发展。

—————————*(这个拿来分析90年代初期的东欧,是很有用的!! 参考历史上的恶魔的作者,所写的相关的东欧社会的公共活动空间,使如何扩大的。 同样,台湾的case 也适用于这个)

it was the historical context of the late Qing that made the circular telegram an effective means of political participation.
it was not the circulation of the circular telegram that propelled China to adopt constitutionalism, but vice versa- it was the need to publicize and broaden the reach of the idea of constitutionalism that made sending circular telegrams an imperative political practice.!!
非常好的argument !

In retrospect, the convergence between rising Chinese nationalism and the emerging consensus of constitutionalism was only an outcome of the working of various historical forces in Chinese politics and cannot be seen as inevitable, as demonstrated by the fact that the appeal of constitutionalism was soon replaced by zeal for revolution in 1911.

这里说的非常好,是当时的国内外政治势力的脚力, 使得立宪派采用电报的发展来宣传自己的理念,
而不是电报的出现,促进了立宪派的发展!! 后来的辛亥革命,很快就取代了这种立宪的要求。

然后他开始讲警示故事了,哈哈。 Cautionary Tales!!
we can certainly learn from history- though when we examine the case of the internet,
we have to be careful not to over-read its history.
没有理由就一定认为,网络会像电报那样, provide a new means of political participation and eventually played an important role in political mobilization. ——————–


the authority and credibility of public telegrams was enhanced by the fact that their senders were often
not only of high status but both resourceful and influential, esp. those newly emergent organizations.
————————————-这点很重要! 今天的大V们,以及网络公知的泛滥,是与当时完全不同的。

说道这里,他举了2005年中国网络,open letter, 以及联名抵制日本入常的问题。
———–后者其实也就论证了他的怀疑, 不过沦为了nationalism 的工具而已。

那么他接着分析,为什么,要求自由民主的online-open-letter 没有受到既有期待的效果呢?

Why are the online open letters advocating democracy and freedom of the press not well received as might be expected?

A better way to answer this question is to pause and first look at the multiple points in the processes though which the technologies (telegraphy and the Internet) convey information.

these processes consist of 2 parts: information issuance and information receiving,

the first part involves the technology, whose existence is the precondition for information transfer,
and issues, who often have to overcome political obstacles to transfer the desired information freely.

the second party consists of the receivers of the information and their social contest.
internet Utopians often have too much confidence in the technology and the information it conveys, believing that these are likely to have a great impact on the receivers.
他也强调说,这不是说不对, this assumption is not necessarily wrong, but when it is viewed as only a one-way process, it becomes problematic. 但是如果你把信息传递,看作是单向的,那么就有问题了。

in fact, history shows that information receivers do not just receiver information passively; they have always played an active role in selectively receiving and actively reinterpreting it , based on the general context.
信息接受者不是总是被动的, 他们也是有选择的接收, 以及认知, 而这一认知就是当时的整体社会环境。

reader-response criticism, 根据他们的理论,
the text alone can not dictate the responses it will get from readers.
所以他批评那些技术论者, over-confident.
就好比,是不是一个好的文本,就一定会让读者觉得好, 自由的信息,就一定会带给社会自由化?
just like the old conviction that a “good text” will make readers think it is a “good” text, these
internet enthusiasts believe that “free” information will make a society freer because the information receivers are believed to have no alternative but to be receptive to the “free” information.

所以他批评这些因特网至上论, 有2个基本点的错误。
first, it assumes that if certain kind of information are made accessible to people, they will be influenced, affected, and changed in the precise way the information promotes.

secondly, the available information can be reinterpreted in a radically different way from the expectations of “free” information advocates.

yet , this new development may not necessarily make the Internet a more effective means than
the telegraphy of making politics public. —————哈哈,太悲观了,
06年是这样,但是之后web 2.0的作用肯定还是超过了当年的电报的发展的。

I argue that, though technologies provide opportunities for the making of a public sphere in China,
this sphere”s actual realization depends more on human action s and strategies by both the state and social players.
—————————————GOOD Point!
Misuse and abuse of technology no both sides could impede the emergence of an embryonic public sphere that otherwise hods great promise for the future.

同时,他认为,类似于哈贝马斯语境的public sphere在中国目前还不存在, does not exist in China.
而是, in the process of being created. when realized, it may bear unique Chinese characteristics and differ from other public spheres. (240p)

The influx of Western Ideas, the rise of nationalism, and the adherence of the Chinese elite to constitutionalism in the last years of the late Qing era were results of complex interactions between domestic and international politics.

Public telegrams met the needs of a dramatically changing society because the receiving context was extremely receptive to telegraphic texts.

that historical context is gone and cannot be revived, however, and only political fortune-tellers can claim that the internet will function to promote democracy the way public telegrams served to promote

the internet will certainly continue to be used by Chinese to expand the space for political participation , but what kind of politics will be their central focus in the coming years, whether it is liberal democracy , nationalism , or something else, only history will be able to tell.

清朝的是, 抵制美货和保路运动;
目前的是3个BBS, 强国论坛, 民间BBS, 以及军事论坛。


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