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Corona crisis chronicle: Fang Fang's Wuhan Diary (2020) as an act of sousveillance

Jana Fedtke (Department of English, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Mohammed Ibahrine (Department of Mass Communication, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Yuting Wang (Department of International Studies, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 23 February 2021

Issue publication date: 24 August 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper analyzes Fang Fang's 2020 Wuhan Diary‐Dispatches from a Quarantined City, to show how the author communicates the coronavirus crisis in Wuhan in a global information ecosystem. The success of the diary showcases how the actual health emergency has been transformed into a communication issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is exploratory and qualitative in nature. The authors conducted a thematic analysis (TA) of Wuhan Diary, in which we decided to focus on the aspects of sousveillance and solidarity. For the purposes of our paper, we used the English translation of the text by Dr. Michael Berry.

Findings

The authors focus on two major themes in their exploration of the corona crisis as a global communication issue: sousveillance and solidarity. The authors argue that the diary's ways of seeing perform a version of “sousveillance” or “undersight” in juxtaposition to surveillance or “oversight” (Mann, 2017). Fang Fang calls for solidarity as an effective measure for individuals, communities and societies to contain the pandemic and a potential misinfodemic.

Originality/value

Since Wuhan was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wuhan Diary presents an unprecedented narrative account of life under quarantine that could function as a litmus test for other cities and countries. Fang Fang's diary provides a countermeasure to official accounts of the pandemic in Wuhan, which has resonated both with people in China and abroad.

Keywords

Citation

Fedtke, J., Ibahrine, M. and Wang, Y. (2021), "Corona crisis chronicle: Fang Fang's Wuhan Diary (2020) as an act of sousveillance", Online Information Review, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 795-809. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-08-2020-0367

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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