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Creating Public Opinion, Advancing Knowledge, Engaging in Politics: The Local Public Sphere in Chengdu, 1898–1921

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 April 2021

Sebastian Veg*
Affiliation:
Ecole des Hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris, France. Email: veg@ehess.fr.

Abstract

Situated far from coastal cities and foreign concessions, Chengdu yields insights into the role of the local press and its specific publics in the political evolution of the late Qing and early Republic. Despite its remote location, Chengdu developed its own modern press in the late Qing, relying on print entrepreneurs and modern journalists recruited from the ranks of the local literati and traditional sociability, in particular teahouses. They all played a role in forming a modern reading public which came to understand itself as a distinct local political community in dynamic interaction with national politics and transnational networks. The local press evinced three successive but intertwined ideals of publicness: as a link between the state and the people and a vector of enlightenment, as a professional forum for public opinion and as a tool for political mobilization. In solidifying public opinion around the local community, the press served as a forum and catalyst for political activism in the 1911 Railroad Protection movement and the 1919 May Fourth movement, events which were shaped as much by local dynamics as they were by national developments.

摘要

摘要

成都远离沿海城市和外国租界,因此就早期地方报刊及其特定公众在民国初年政治演变中的角色而言,可带来新视角。尽管地处偏僻,但从晚清开始,成都借着印刷企业家、从当地文人招揽而来的现代记者,以及传统公共场所(如茶馆),自行发展出成熟的现代报业。这些群体合力营造出现代读者公众,将自己视为一个独特的地方政治共同体。在1911年的保路运动和1919年的五四运动中,地方报业成为政治活动的论坛,起了推波助澜的作用。这个案例突显出国家政治、跨国关系网络和地方社团之间的复杂关联。

Type
Special section: “Revisiting the Public Sphere in 20th- and 21st-century China”
Copyright
Copyright © SOAS University of London, 2021

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