Superdiversity on the Internet: A Case from China

by Piia Varis and Xuan Wang (University of Tilburg, the Netherlands)

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The Internet is the superdiverse space par excellence – a space of seemingly endless possibilities for self-expression and community formation. Yet, online environments are not characterized only by happy heterogeneity: rather, we are able to see multiple layers of normativity in the form of self-, peer- and state-imposed norms. That is, though allowing for the continuous diversification of diversity, the Internet is also a space where diversity is controlled, ordered and curtailed. This paper illustrates these dynamics through an examination of a Beijing-based rapper and his online activities. What emerges from this investigation is a superdiverse as well as normative space where diversity is constrained by a complex of normative struggles, as new forms of meaning-making are accompanied with new systems of normativity. The driving force in such increasingly online normative processes is, instead of locality or localization, the quest for authenticity.

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:
Varis, P., & Wang, X. (2011). Superdiversity on the Internet: A Case from China. Diversities, 13(2), 71-83. Retrieved [todaysdate] from
Diversities • Volume 13, No. 2, 2011
Language and Superdiversities I
Guest Editors: Jan Blommaert, Ben Rampton and Massimiliano Spotti
ISSN-Print 2199-8108
ISSN-Internet 2199-8116