Understanding the pursuit of ethnic identity in China

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review


This chapter introduces the key themes and objectives of the book, ‘Minzu as Technology: Ethnic Identity and Social Media in Post-2000s China.’ It begins by providing an overview of the concept of minzu and its significance in Chinese society. Additionally, it explores the politics of articulation within the realm of minzu subject formation, considering the complex interplay between power dynamics and identity politics. The chapter further delves into the postcolonial analysis of minzu, examining how historical legacies have shaped the understanding and representation of ethnic identities in China. It highlights the need for a nuanced examination of minzu, moving beyond simplistic binary frameworks and acknowledging the intricate complexities involved in ethnic subject formation. A central focus of the book is the exploration of media technicity and its influence on the construction of minzu identities. It examines how the affordances and constraints of social media platforms shape the interactions and discursive spaces in which ethnic identity is negotiated. Specifically, the book investigates the reception of minzu subject within the Sibe community, shedding light on the role of social media in ethnic identity construction. In line with a postcolonial perspective, the book challenges essentialist and monolithic understandings of ethnic identity, emphasizing the agency and local impetus behind ethnic subject formation. It argues that ethnic identities are not solely defined by external forces but are shaped by internal desires, tactics, and aspirations. By presenting an empirical account of ethnic identity construction in post-2000s China, the book aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics at play. It seeks to unravel the intertwining relationship between media technicity, power dynamics, and the individuation process of minzu identities. In conclusion, this chapter sets the stage for the subsequent exploration of minzu as technology. It highlights the importance of interrogating the politics of articulation, engaging in postcolonial analysis, and understanding the local impetus driving ethnic identity formation. Through an empirical examination of the Sibe community and the media technicity of social media, the book offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of ethnic identity construction in contemporary China.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMinzu as Technology
Subtitle of host publicationEthnic Identity and Social Media in Post 2000s China
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789819954025
ISBN (Print)9789819954018, 9789819954049
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Cultural studies
  • Social media
  • Ethnic identity
  • China
  • Foucault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Communication


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