China and the global information society


A West-East-discourse



Robert M. Bichler,
Thomas Herdin; University of Salzburg


The People’s Republic of China, with an estimated total population going beyond 1.35 billions, is one of the fastest growing telecommunication markets in the world, whereas the total number of Internet users for example exceeds the number of users in the European Union. There is no doubt that the country is becoming a new superpower in various ways, including the IT sector. Although China is becoming a central player in the offline- and online-world, there are still many misconceptions, especially in the West, about the way the information society is emerging and shaped by the citizens. This track strives for shedding more light on current developments taking place in China on its way to an information society by providing a discussion forum for Eastern and Western scholars.

Subjects and scope

Possible theoretical and empirical contributions include, but are not limited to the following questions and topics.


  • What myths concerning the information society in China are dominant from a Western perspective?
  • How is the Western information society represented in the Chinese academic discourse?
  • What are the prevailing topics in Chinese information society research and how do they differ from the Western focus?
  • How does the current economic crisis influence the emerging Chinese information society?
  • Are traditional Chinese norms and values transferred to the information society or are they transformed due to the use of technologies?
  • What consequences does the rise of an information society have on the individual’s self-construction and the social embedding of Chinese citizens?
  • How does the information society affect the ways social relationships are experienced and managed in China?
  • How can the Western world and China learn from each other?
  • What are the methodological challenges in cross-cultural (West-East) research?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges concerning Western-Chinese information society research cooperations?
  • What new areas of conflict can arise between China and the Western world?

Topics (comparisons are favoured where appropriate):

  • Governance and government in the information society
  • Health in the information society
  • Digital Divide
  • New forms of participation and empowerment in the information society
  • Cross-cultural comparison: methodological challenges and research paradigms
  • The influences of values on information societies (regarding intercultural and transcultural dimensions)
  • Legal issues
  • Ecological challenges and opportunities
  • Technological challenges and opportunities


The track will consist of presentations (20 minutes each) and time for discussion (10 minutes each).


Please submit an abstract (up to 1000 words) of your proposed paper, including your affiliation, contact information and up to five keywords.


Important Dates

Submission deadline: 27 February 2015
Notification of acceptance: 20 March 2015