NGO2.0 and Social Media Praxis: Activist as Researcher

This article tracks the emergence of a particular brand of ICT activism that promotes the use of social media as a means of helping Chinese NGOs break out of their communication bottleneck. The author starts by introducing NGO2.0, an activist project targeting China’s rural regions, using it as an entry point to examine the practice of “social media for social good” and shed light on the ecosystem of social media usage by Chinese NGOs. The author also deliberates on the explanatory value of the binary paradigm of “rural vs. urban,” looks into the methodological implications of undertaking “social media action research,” and articulates what it means to be engaged in the hybrid practice of “activist as scholar” in the specific context of Cultural Studies.

Read at Taylor & Francis online.

Jing Wang

About Jing Wang

Professor Jing Wang, S. C. Fang Professor of Chinese Language and Culture, recently passed away at the age of 71. She was the founder and director of MIT New Media Action Lab and served as the Chair of the International Advisory Board for Creative Commons China. Wang is a recipient of the Overseas Distinguished Professor Award, given by China's Ministry of Education. She was also the founder and secretary-general of NGO2.0, a grassroots nonprofit organization based in Beijing and Shenzhen, specializing in ICT (Information Communication Technology) powered activism. Ford Foundation awarded her a twelve-year grant (2009-2021) to develop NGO2.0. Wang’s first book The Story of Stone (published in English and Japanese) won her the 1992 Joseph Levenson Prize for the “Best Book on Pre-Modern China,” awarded by the Association of Asian Studies. Her third single-authored book Brand New China: Advertising, Media, and Commercial Culture came out in Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese translations. Her fourth single-authored book The Other Digital China: Nonconfrontational Activism on the Social Web was published by Harvard University Press in December 2019. One of Wang’s edited volumes (with Winnie Wong) “Reconsidering the 2006 MIT Visualizing Cultures Controversy” won the Council of Editors of Learned Journal's “Best Special Issue Award” in 2015. Professor Wang is currently working with a colleague in China to edit a volume on entertainment media and the future of content. Wang received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies of Harvard University, the National Humanities Center, and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation. Wang’s most recent research interests included entertainment media in China and the US, advertising and marketing, civic media and communication, social media action research, and nonprofit technology, with an area focus on the People’s Republic of China.


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