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Interactivity, Connectivity and Everydayness of Political Representation in the Chinese

China
 
Citizenship
 
Civil Society
 
Presenter
Anna Shpakovskaya
University of Duisburg-Essen
Authors
Anna Shpakovskaya
University of Duisburg-Essen
Yves Sintomer
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Abstract
The main objectives of this paper are threefold: (i) to map political representation in the Chinese cyberspace, (ii) propose the concept of interactive e-representation and (iii) discuss the implications of the Chinese case for the typology of political representation. First, I commence by defining political representation as a two-dimensional concept that goes beyond elections and incorporates both congressional as well as non-electoral forms of representation. I proceed with a discussion of digitization of congressional representation in the Chinese context by looking at how people’s congress deputies engage in the cyberspace. Next, I turn to the examples of emerging new forms of non-electoral representation. In particular, I demonstrate how bloggers act as representatives through continuous interaction with the netizens. In the final part of the paper, I propose a concept of interactive e-representation and discuss its main characteristics such as interactivity, connectivity and everydayness. I conclude by situating the Chinese case in the Western theory of political representation and discuss its implications for the typology of political representation. This paper draws upon content analysis of selected microblogs, in-depth interviews with people’s congress deputies, bloggers and academic experts conducted in China and ample secondary sources.
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