Mapping Chinese Digital Nationalism: A Literature Review

Xiaoyu Zhang, Delia Dumitrica, Jeroen Jansz


A growing empirical scholarship examines the rise of Chinese digital nationalism. This scholarship remains scattered across disciplinary and area studies journals, making it difficult to systematize findings and identify knowledge gaps. We review N = 71 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters (1990–2021) to map the empirical findings on the (re)production and circulation of official and everyday Chinese nationalist discourses. We note the dominance of single-case textual analyses of online data, the underdeveloped theoretical frameworks, and the unclear research designs across this scholarship. In China, the online (re)production of official nationalism remains driven by the Party state, with netizens’ everyday forms of nationalism generally reinforcing or being co-opted by official nationalism. We call for a fuller picture of the ecosystem of state-driven digital nationalism and its influence as well as more attention to the challenges to official nationalism online mounted by everyday nationalism.


Chinese nationalism, digital nationalism, Chinese cyberspace, literature review

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