Social Media and Chinese Digital Diaspora in Australia

Social Media and Chinese Digital Diaspora in Australia: Local Findings with Global Implications

Call for papers for special issue of Media International Australia (MIA)

Edited by Haiqing Yu (UNSW) and Wanning Sun (UTS)

This special issue aims to bring together original research papers from a diversified range of disciplines in arts, humanities, and social sciences to examine the role of digital and social media platforms and practices in forging news forms of civic engagement among the highly diversified and stratified Chinese diaspora in Australia. It asks for critical engagement with two key concepts: digital Chinese diaspora and digital citizenship—both highly contested and evolving concepts. Key issues to be discussed include but are not limited to:

o What are the emergent digital and mobile communication practices among Chinese diaspora and how do they impact on their (socioeconomic, cultural and political) life in Australia as multicultural citizens?
o To what extent do these digital practices create new forms of civic engagement and enable Chinese migrant communities to participate in public life in Australia?
o What are political, social and economic impacts of flexible sense-and-meaning-making practices among the Chinese diaspora on their understanding and exercising of ‘citizenship’ in Australia?

Existing scholarship on Chinese diaspora and diasporic media has focused on how the Chinese diaspora use various media and communication platforms and networks to maintain connections to the “Motherland” and to reconstitute the home abroad. Recent work has traced new developments in diasporic Chinese media, has updated the current landscape of diasporic Chinese media and communication (particularly with the proliferation of digital platforms and new modes of communication), and has documented the impact of China’s soft power initiatives and “going global” policy. This work has also pointed to a new, and seemingly intractable, tension: the emergence of stronger links between new migrants in the diaspora and China on the one hand, and a continuous desire for a global, postmodern and hybrid Chinese diasporic identity, on the other hand. This tension is played out in relation to media production, circulation, and consumption, and it manifests itself mostly acutely through individual digital media practices. The growing importance of social media among the Chinese diaspora calls for detailed and systematic inquiry into the implications of this development for Australia’s multicultural policy, social cohesion and effective engagement with China.

This special issue welcomes critical case analyses of the role of digital and social media in the lives of Chinese digital diaspora in Australia. It encourages a focus on the relation between Chinese diaspora’s engagement with social media (both Chinese and international) and their participation in Australian public life. It is hoped that this special issue will update scholarship on Chinese diaspora and diasporic media in the era of digital/social media and contribute to the theorization of flexible and digital citizenship.

Abstract submission: 31 October 2017. Please send a 500-word abstract and 100-word author bio to guest editors: Haiqing Yu ( and Wanning Sun (

Invitation to submit full papers: by mid-November 2017
Full paper submission: by 1 April 2018
Expected date of publication: November 2019