Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Communications and Arts

Faculty

Education and Arts

First Advisor

Dr Panizza Allmark

Second Advisor

Dr Beate Josephi

Abstract

This thesis looks at the development of community cable television in the eastern coastal town of Taizhou in China from its beginnings in the 1990s to 2007. The establishment of community cable television can be seen as a new form of media production in China, by which changes in economic and political power and social identity can be traced. My hometown of Taizhou serves as a good example of this societal development. Taizhou is famous for private economy. Its average income is ranked in the top six among more than three hundred cities in China, making the middle class the main social sector of the city.

Community cable television differs in more ways than one from regional or national public television. It belongs nominally to the local government and coverage cannot exceed the boundary of the city it is located in. Due to the community cable television’s specific ownership and official background, the “negotiation among censors and publishers, [and] … post-publication censure” (Zhao, 2008, p.35) follow a different route, and many barriers can be avoided. Especially with continuing economic reforms in China, the community cable television can therefore be treated as opening public space for the new middle class in China to receive relevant economic information and express their opinions.

This thesis will explain how the rise of the middle class is linked with the development of community cable television, and will show the transformation in the social structure and link these to the broader changes taking place in television in China, thus to demonstrate a little – known image of Chinese television to readers, and to indicate its likely future development.

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