Ariel Hsian-Au Hsiung

Sichuan Earthquake: Civil Society or Participant Culture?

My project is a study of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China. I have chosen the Sichuan crisis to examine because the Chinese state’s fast and transparent reaction to the earthquake was both surprising and contrary to traditional expectations. My research seeks to answer this fundamental question: has participating in the Sichuan relief efforts changed state-society and society-citizen interactions in China? The wider implication of my project is whether a higher level of participant culture post-Sichuan is an indicator for an emerging civil society in China. I shall approach my research using a combination of theories such as civil society, Chinese nationalism and participatory culture, and empirical studies of media reports during the three month period immediately following earthquake.

Message to Sponsor

This opportunity means very much to me since it is the first time that I am undertaking a research project of this scale. It is a challenge I have set myself to discover what it really means to do research, how much I can achieve on my own and to explore the many different ways to interpret data and using data as evidence. I believe it is an experience that I will find enjoyable and useful for all my future plans.
  • Major: Political Science
  • Mentor: Kevin O'Brien, Political Science