Identity Construction in Weibo Communication

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This chapter investigates identity construction in Chinese overseas students’weibo writing. Drawing on sociolinguistic theories of identity and stance-taking,it analyses how Chinese overseas students in Australia use weibo to reportand discuss their unpleasant and even traumatic experiences. I argue that weiboprovides a space where an ambivalent identity is constructed and a strong affectivestance of fear and fury on self-reported incidents of violence is manifestedthrough linguistic strategies of categorisation, the recurring topos of danger,flaming and nationalistic rhetoric. Weibo-enabled functions such as repost,@users,metacomment and emoticons facilitate and accelerate the recurrence andcirculation of this sentiment. Within the limited space of weibo, huge publicpressures are generated on authorities in Australia, compelling them to respondto the incidents with a resolution. Using a hysterical-shouting style of writing(i.e. complaining about something in a self-mockery manner), weibo users alsoform a discourse of resistance, challenging the stereotypical percepti and relaxing.The weibo writing reveals that Chinese overseas students suffer from an onof overseas students as ‘born rich’ and their overseas life as prestigious.


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