초록 close

This paper examined the practice of collective newspaper reading in the Newspaper Reading Group organized by the Chinese Communist Party(CCP) in the early 1950s and analyzed the new pattern of political communication and more broadly political culture in the grass-roots level that the CCP intended to promote. The CCP organized the Newspapers Reading Group as a key institution mediating between party and people within the hierarchical context of political communication. Ten to fifteen people would gather each day for about thirty minutes to read newspapers collectively and orally, which contrasted with other modern notions of “reading” as a private and silent practice. With the unprecedented penetration of the state power into the society, the CCP intended to change the practice of constructing public opinion in the grass-root society by intervening not only in the production of the media, but also in the consumption of the media. By doing so, the CCP intended to make the party cadres or party activists to become mediators between the party and the masses. Whereas illiterate populations of the pre-1949 period had largely depended on non-state networks for information, those same populations after 1949 became incorporated into formal “political” communications networks systematically organized by the CCP. Previous studies before the start of the cultural revolution (1966-1976) generally perceived the Chinese state as totalitarian as it seemed that the state's control over the society was extremely effective. Thus, persuasion of the masses by the media as party propaganda was regarded as considerably effective. However, gradually after the Cultural Revolution, the limits of the state power and the media effect on mass persuasion was noticed. Rather than focusing on the effect of the media on mass persuasion or on changing the subjectivity of the people, I have focused on analyzing the intention of the CCP in transforming the practice of constructing public opinion imbedded in the process of organizing the Newspaper Reading Group, practice of collective newspaper reading, and pattern of public discussion in the Newspaper Reading Group. I argued that the CCP intended to regulate free interpretation of news or editorials published in the newspapers and create new political culture in the public realm by spreading the new practice of reading. Public discussion on the news was also encouraged in the Newspaper Reading Group in order to construct public opinion that is favorable to the party line and party policy by setting the boundaries of public display of subjectivity. For once the interpretation of news items became an act of public verbalization within Newspaper Reading Group sessions, there remained little room for alternative interpretations that might also occupy public space. Thus, the effectiveness of political communication during the early 1950s period did not solely derive from the fact that readers were simply persuaded by cadres’ interpretations of newspaper content, but also resulted from a system in which supervised practices of public interpretation subsequently limited the presence of competing alternatives within communal contexts.


키워드close

, , , ,

读报组,集体读报,宣传网,群众公论,政治传播, Newspaper Reading Group, Practice of collective newspaper reading, public opinion, political communication

读报组, 集体读报, 宣传网, 群众公论, 政治传播, Newspaper Reading Group, Practice of collective newspaper reading, public opinion, political communication