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Resistance within Contexts:A Study of University BBS Youth Culture in China
Unformatted Document Text:  2 Introduction Today’s China is a fast changing society. Some orthodox ideas are still powerful in directing people’s thinking and behaviors, while new ideas and values gain power as China becomes more and more materialistic and capitalistic in the process of modernization and globalization. Growing up in such a context, the current generation of university students fervently consumes commercial popular culture which is still despised by the old generation, the intellectuals for an instance. Therefore popular culture has become a new battleground on which the war of power struggles for obtaining symbolic capital was conducted. This new battleground provides the young students spaces for practicing their own cultural style. And thus, the resistance becomes possible. That is to say, the contradiction between the real trends of the society and the governmental and intellectual discourses produces subject positions for the youth to resist the orthodox ideas and values hold by the intellectuals. More critically, new technologies, such as the BBS 1 , further empower the young people to participate their own cultural activities. And as a result, the young people can consciously make use of the new technologies to create their own culture and can resist some dominant cultures perceived in their real-life contexts. Therefore, in this article, I will argue that resistance of a particular youth culture becomes visible when it is placed in a specific contextual and historical moment. By analyzing a distinctive youth cultural phenomenon happened in Chinese university BBSs, I will try to use three-folded contexts to explore the resistance of this BBS youth culture. All the data used in this article are based on fifteen interviews with the BBS members from four different universities. Theoretical Framework: Resistance and Contexts Interpreting a youth culture as a force of resistance does not entail that this culture is 1 BBS (Electronic Bulletin Board Systems) is a kind of digital network service. As Dewey defines, ‘a BBS is an interactive, online, electronic database system, usually, though not always operated on a microcomputer’ (Dewey, 1987, p.1). BBS is a very convenient tool to be used to exchange information through Internet. In Mainland China, BBSs are very popular because people can use low cost computers to easily get access to abundant information in these network systems. In BBS, messages are posted publicly. Thus a large number of audiences can read simultaneously and give feedback immediately. University-based BBS is one sort of BBSs established by a certain university.

Authors: Dong, Dong.
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background image
2
Introduction
Today’s China is a fast changing society. Some orthodox ideas are still powerful in directing
people’s thinking and behaviors, while new ideas and values gain power as China becomes more
and more materialistic and capitalistic in the process of modernization and globalization. Growing
up in such a context, the current generation of university students fervently consumes commercial
popular culture which is still despised by the old generation, the intellectuals for an instance.
Therefore popular culture has become a new battleground on which the war of power struggles for
obtaining symbolic capital was conducted.
This new battleground provides the young students spaces for practicing their own cultural
style. And thus, the resistance becomes possible. That is to say, the contradiction between the real
trends of the society and the governmental and intellectual discourses produces subject positions
for the youth to resist the orthodox ideas and values hold by the intellectuals. More critically, new
technologies, such as the BBS
1
, further empower the young people to participate their own cultural
activities. And as a result, the young people can consciously make use of the new technologies to
create their own culture and can resist some dominant cultures perceived in their real-life contexts.
Therefore, in this article, I will argue that resistance of a particular youth culture becomes
visible when it is placed in a specific contextual and historical moment. By analyzing a distinctive
youth cultural phenomenon happened in Chinese university BBSs, I will try to use three-folded
contexts to explore the resistance of this BBS youth culture. All the data used in this article are
based on fifteen interviews with the BBS members from four different universities.
Theoretical Framework: Resistance and Contexts
Interpreting a youth culture as a force of resistance does not entail that this culture is
1
BBS (Electronic Bulletin Board Systems) is a kind of digital network service. As Dewey defines, ‘a BBS is an
interactive, online, electronic database system, usually, though not always operated on a microcomputer’ (Dewey, 1987,
p.1). BBS is a very convenient tool to be used to exchange information through Internet. In Mainland China, BBSs are
very popular because people can use low cost computers to easily get access to abundant information in these network
systems. In BBS, messages are posted publicly. Thus a large number of audiences can read simultaneously and give
feedback immediately. University-based BBS is one sort of BBSs established by a certain university.


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