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Doctoral Project

The Internet and the Public Sphere in the Era of Convergence: An Ethnographic Case Study of Chinese Diasporic Media in Germany  
Haifen Nan

This study attempts to explore the structural transformation of the Chinese diasporic public sphere in Germany in the context of transnational migration and emergence of new media, in particular, the Internet. The aim is to offer empirical as well as theoretical reflection of the notion of 'public sphere' with a focus on diasporic media in the process of globalisation and media convergence.According to both Habermas and Mills, the structural transformation of the public sphere consists of two dimensions: the change of the public and the change of the communicative infrastructure. In order to understand the current landscape of the Chinese diasporic public sphere in Germany, it is essential to understand the structural changes of the above mentioned two dimensions, which are 1) the transformation of the public due to the salient development of Chinese migration to Germany since the opening of China after 1978; 2) the transformation of the communicative infrastructure starting from the late 1980s to now, which was reshaped to a great degree due to the prevalence of the Internet among the Chinese in Germany at the beginning of the 21st century. This study argues that the transformation of the Chinese diasporic public sphere in Germany is due to the conjunction of the new trend in both Chinese transnational migration to Germany and the popularisation of the Internet among them. This study will combine ethnographic approach with historical and sociological approaches to analysis the evolvement of the mediascape of the Chinese migrants in Germany in terms of generational gaps and the digital divides in the last three decades.