16:00 to 17:00
End date
25 November 2020
Zoom Webinar
Wednesday, 25 November 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm


Shifting Dynamics of Contention in the Digital Age

Over the past decades, waves of political contention involving the use of information and communication technologies have swept across the globe. The phenomenon stimulates the scholarship on digital communication technologies and contentious collective action to thrive as an exciting, relevant, but highly fragmentary and contested field with disciplinary boundaries.

To advance interdisciplinary understanding, Shifting Dynamics of Contention in the Digital Age outlines a communication-centred framework that articulates the intricate relationship between technology, communication, and contention. It systematically explores the influence of mobile technology on political contention in China, the country with the world's largest number of mobile and internet users.

Using first-hand, in-depth interview and fieldwork data, Shifting Dynamics of Contention in the Digital Age tracks the strategic choice of mobile phones as repertoires of contention, illustrates the effective mobilization of mobile communication on the basis of its strong and reciprocal social ties, and identifies the communicative practice of forwarding officially alleged 'rumours' as a form of everyday resistance.

Through this groundbreaking study, Shifting Dynamics of Contention in the Digital Age presents a nuanced portrayal of an emerging dynamics of contention – both its strengths and limitations – through the embedding of mobile communication into Chinese society and politics.



Jun Liu is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Research Affiliate in the Center on Digital Culture and Society, the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, the U.S. His research covers political sociology, communication technologies, and computational social sciences, and he publishes in the fields of sociology, political science, communication, and computer science. His latest monograph is Shifting Dynamics of Contention in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press, 2020). 

Jinghan Zeng is professor of China and International Studies at Lancaster University. He is the author of Slogan Politics: Understanding Chinese Foreign Policy Concepts (Palgrave, 2020) and The Chinese Communist Party's Capacity to Rule: Ideology, Legitimacy and Party Cohesion (Palgrave, 2015) and co-editor of One Belt, One Road, One Story? Towards an EU-China Strategic Narrative (Palgrave, forthcoming). 

Michael Biggs is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Cross. His research on social movements addresses two different themes: the volatility of protest waves and self-inflicted suffering as protest. He has published in American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, European Sociological Review, Politics and Society, and Mobilization.