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Persistent powers: party politics, commercialisation, and the transformation of China s state publishing industry

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posted on 04.11.2011, 13:06 by Qidong Yun
China's media have undergone significant commercialisation since the introduction of the economic reforms initiated three decades ago. But how this process is unfolding is still not well discussed. Book publishing, the oldest media sector but the one least studied, has been in the forefront of media commercialisation and provides a useful vantage point for the investigation of this transformation. This thesis will examine the role of the party-state and the market during the commercialisation of state publishing, paying particular attention to the core processes of conglomeration and corporatisation and, since the party-state has also been decentralised, to the role of regional government. Drawing on original documentary research and primary data generated in an internship in a provincial publishing group, this thesis advances three main arguments. Firstly, that the process of commercialisation in publishing cannot be fully understood outside of the transformation of the wider economic and political context, especially the shift in the general organisation of industry and the evolution of party ideology. Secondly, that this process has been marked by persistent tensions and contradictions. And thirdly, that despite the ongoing commercialisation the publishing industry remains controlled predominantly by the party-state and is far from being a market-driven business. Decentralisation may have enabled local governments to gain strong control over the economics of local publishers, but the central party-state remains dominant on political issues.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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