Aggressive banners, dialect-shouting village heads, and their online fame : Construction and consumption of rural Linguistic Landscapes in China’s anti-Covid campaign

Feifei ZHOU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in China, the state quickly declared a nationwide anti-Covid campaign. This article looks at how the rural space was transformed during this early anti-Covid campaign. Unlike the official state discourses, rural officials resorted to direct, down-to-earth, and ‘cold-hearted’ messages to persuade the villagers to comply with the rules. Based on a study of widely circulated banners and videos online, drawing on Linguistic Landscape studies and discourse analysis, I investigate the discursive strategies employed in rural LL. Moreover, I discuss how the intended/imagined audiences of these multimodal signing practices are disconnected from the changed rural population. These discrepancies will be further examined in light of the online subcultural practices of ‘tuwei culture’. I will argue that much-needed discussion of the actual difficulties that rural officials face is displaced in the online consumption of rural LL.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-263
JournalLinguistic Landscape
Volume8
Issue number2-3
Early online date1 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • discourse
  • health communication
  • Linguistic Landscape
  • rural governance
  • the Chinese internet

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