Diaosi [Underdog Talk] as a Way of Relating in Contemporary China

Authored by: Saskia Witteborn , Qian Huang

The Handbook of Communication in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138892095
eBook ISBN: 9781315709321
Adobe ISBN: 9781317485605


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This chapter examines diaosi (屌丝/吊丝/钓丝) as a way of relating in contemporary China. The closest English equivalent would be loser or underdog, indicating a continuum of meanings, from being the maker of one’s life circumstances to being shaped by social, political, and economic conditions. Diaosi has become a popular way of relating among young Chinese since 2011 and is associated with social phenomena related to class, gender, digital communication, and consumption. This chapter discusses how diaosi is a constitutive term and communicative practice that engages people in social grouping.

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