Internet as an ideology : nationalistic discourses, and multiple subject positions of Chinese internet workers

Yuqi NA*, Ngai PUN

*Corresponding author for this work

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

1 Citation (Scopus)


Ideology works. This article examines how the Internet as a capital actor has become a nationalist ideology in China. Disclosing how nationalism serves to facilitate the expansion of China-based Internet platforms in the age of informational capitalism, we directly confront the Chinese Internet as an ideology apparatus that works to fulfill a dual logic of capital and territorial power. This article contributes to the study of three types of Chinese Internet workers: programmers, white-collar employees (excluding programmers), and assembly-line workers, and focuses on how nationalist discourses are created, which enthrall but at the same time are questioned by different workers who help fabricate nationalism as well as challenge it. We conceptualize topos of threat and referential strategy of collectivization as cultural and media tactics, driven by the nationalistic sentiments that form part of the “common sense” of Chinese users. We further analyze the multiple subject positions of Chinese Internet workers into hegemonic position, negotiated position, and oppositional position to discover the complexity of labor subjectivity which may create discrepancy or sometimes even challenge the Chinese Internet as an ideology. This study sheds light on how subject positions could disrupt a homogenous process of merging nationalism with populist sentiments, a conservative ideology that is prevalent in today’s China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-381
Number of pages15
JournalInter-Asia Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Techno-nationalism
  • digital capitalism
  • Chinese internet
  • ideology apparatus
  • subject positions
  • China


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