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Re-incarnating an ancient, emergent superpower: the PRC's epideictic extravaganza, public memory, and national identity

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The People's Republic of China's inexorable ascendancy has become an epochal event in international landscape, accentuated by its triple national ceremonies of global significance: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 2009 Beijing Military Parade, and 2010 Shanghai World Expo. At a momentous

The People's Republic of China's inexorable ascendancy has become an epochal event in international landscape, accentuated by its triple national ceremonies of global significance: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 2009 Beijing Military Parade, and 2010 Shanghai World Expo. At a momentous juncture when the PRC endeavored to project a new national identity to the outside world, these ceremonial occasions constitute a high-stake communicative opportunity for the Chinese government and a fruitful set of discursive artifacts for symbolic deconstruction and rhetorical interpretation. To unravel these ceremonial spectacles, a public memory approach, with its versatile potencies indexical of a nation's interpretive system of social meaning, its normative framework of ideological model, and its past-present-future interrelationships, is contextually, conceptually, and analytically diagnostic of a rising China's sociopolitical constellations. Thus employing public memory as a conceptual-methodological matrix, my dissertation focuses on the prominent texts in these ceremonies, excavates their historico-memorial invocation and sociocultural persuasion, and plumbs their discursive agenda, rhetorical operation, and sociopolitical implication. I argue that the Chinese government deliberately and forcefully strove for three interrelated communicative objectives at these three ceremonies--re-imaging, re-asserting, and re-anchoring its national identity as an ancient, emergent superpower. Yet in contemporary Chinese context, its discursive (con)quest to recast its leadership as a historically continuous, culturally orthodox, and ideologically legitimate regime has always been compromised by its mythologized historical representation and hegemonic rhetorical reconfiguration, countervailed by its political and ideological fragility, and contested by domestic and global publics. Besides its contributions to the current conversation on the PRC's ceremonial phenomena, discursive formations, and communicative dynamics, this dissertation further offers its diagnosis and prognostication of this projected leading country in the 21st century.

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2012

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A New Kind of Community Belonging and Community Formation Through Community Radio in South Phoenix

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“Community” is a concept invoked by scholars, activists, organizers, and institutions with little reflection or understanding about how community forms. Communication scholarship, specifically rhetorical scholarship, ties community to citizenship and discourses about policy. This study develops an alternative understanding of

“Community” is a concept invoked by scholars, activists, organizers, and institutions with little reflection or understanding about how community forms. Communication scholarship, specifically rhetorical scholarship, ties community to citizenship and discourses about policy. This study develops an alternative understanding of community formation by examining KDIF, a low-power FM community radio station in South Phoenix. KDIF operates in geographic and cultural spaces that face histories and narratives of marginalization and neglect, and currently face issues of gentrification and exploitation. The station provides a platform for local artists, DJs, and residents to spread their messages and cultivate a sense of belonging between groups and people that have struggled to form common bonds or coalitions. Using the methodology of participatory critical rhetoric and informed by literatures of sonic rhetoric, sound studies, social movements, and rhetorical studies, this study examines how KDIF creates belonging through sound and sonics, how an understanding of community as “organic” limits and affords cultural expression, and how KDIF uses epideictic rather than deliberative discourses that provide an alternative to belonging as citizenship. The analysis of KDIF’s work builds an argument that KDIF forms community by connecting South Phoenix residents to narratives and affects of belonging while resisting dominant affects and narratives of “not belonging” that surround South Phoenix. In this context, “community” articulates and narrates the affective experiences that come with a loss and recovery of belonging, and the invocation of community allow for marginalized groups to declare a sense of worth by circulating affects and experiences of belonging.

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Date Created
2021