Diaosi as infrapolitics : scatological tropes, identity-making and cultural intimacy on China's internet
Date of Issue2014
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper examines a recent bizarre phenomenon on China’s Internet—the enormous popularity of a scatological Chinese neologism called diaosi, which literally translates as ‘dick string’. Seeing the diaosi phenomenon as a case of ‘infrapolitics’, a space of nuanced discursive practices mediating overt online politics and benign online entertainment, we analyze the ways in which an infrapolitical practice such as the diaosi phenomenon fuses political critique, cultural processes of identity construction and meaning-making as well as cyber ritual communion. Specifically, we interpret the infrapolitics of diaosi as simultaneously: an instantiation of a prevalent scatological online culture that defies hypernormalization; a collective identity-making that seeks to create critical social solidarity; and a practice and politics of cultural intimacy.
Media, culture & society
© 2014 The Authors. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in Media, Culture & Society, published by SAGE Publications on behalf of The Authors. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [Article DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0163443714557980].