CCCH9017 China: Culture, State and Society
People, Propaganda and Profit: Understanding Media in China

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)

Course Description

The aim of this course is to understand China’s changing media landscape in post 1978 reform period. The course surveys the historical root of mass propaganda in the Chinese media during the Mao Era, analyzing the political, social and cultural dimensions of its development. This will be followed by an in-depth look at how Deng’s market liberalization policies have infused profit making mechanisms that reshaped media practices within the context of continued government control. Specific examples will be used to illustrate how the emergence of new media technology, fortified by Xi’s media convergence policy, has enabled the voice of the people to be heard, amplifying media’s role as a mass communication vehicle domestically and globally. Using the “people, propaganda, and profit” framework throughout the semester, the course will examine the implications of shifting relations between the state, market and the society on cultural or media production and reception.

This course utilizes media studies and sociology theories and engages students in a cross-disciplinary investigation on the social implications of the changing media environment in China. By analyzing various forms of media and communication, including newspapers, television, film, advertising, the arts, and new media, this course examines the subtleties and dynamic interplay of evolving political, economic and social forces and their prospects for the transformation of mass media and culture in China.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe major factors that transformed China’s media from a vehicle of mass propaganda to mass communication.
  2. Assess the limitations of unfettered media commercialization and profit making within continued Party ideological domination.
  3. Describe the emerging of the people’s voice via the rise of new media, other diverse media and popular culture forms and analyse its contribution to the development of China’s nascent civil society.
  4. Critically analyze the on-going debate concerning media autonomy and Party control by applying various media studies and sociology theories covered.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

First semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 10
Reading / Self-study 26
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 50
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 20
Total: 130

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Group project 30
Individual assignment 40
Tutorial presentation and participation 30

Required Reading

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr L.F. Cho
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 4641
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr L.F. Cho
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 4641