Chinese collective memory on the Internet: Remembering the Great Famine in online encyclopaedias

Gustafsson, Karl. Chinese collective memory on the Internet: Remembering the Great Famine in online encyclopaedias. Memory Studies. Pré-publié en ligne, 23 juin 2017. DOI :10.1177/1750698017714836

Abstract

Recent research on how the Great Chinese Famine was debated on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, in 2012 suggests that information and communication technologies can challenge official versions of the past and increase pluralism in collective memory narratives in authoritarian states. This article suggests that analysing change in the treatment of the famine in Chinese online encyclopaedias during and following the debate helps us further explore the debate’s impact. Moreover, it allows us to determine the extent to which Chinese online encyclopaedias function as the type of memory place that previous research on Wikipedia in other contexts might lead us to expect. The article concludes that the changes made to the narratives about the Great Famine in Chinese online encyclopaedias following the debate were rather limited and that the Chinese online encyclopaedias have not yet developed into participatory and pluralistic memory places that challenge official narratives.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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