The Social Construction of Internet Addiction in China: Youth between Reality and Temporal Autonomy in the Documentary Web Junkie

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2 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

This article addresses issues surrounding the social construction of internet addiction, focusing on conceptualisations of reality, escape, hope, and time. Drawing on a critical realist account of semiosis, the framing of internet addiction in China is analysed using the documentary film Web Junkie as an empirical pivot and point of departure. A contextual overview of relations, interests, and tensions surrounding youth and the internet in China is provided, and the film Web Junkie is briefly presented. The main body of the article consists of a critical analysis of conceptualisations of “reality” and “escape.” The core tension focused on in the analysis is the struggle over time, necessitating engagement with critical thought on hope and utopia. The analysis concludes that struggles over temporal autonomy underlie conflicting claims about “reality” and “escape” that are central to “internet addiction” and its treatment in China today.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-105
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Current Chinese Affairs
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Information Systems, Social aspects

Keywords

  • China
  • internet addiction
  • temporal autonomy
  • youth

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