Producing entrepreneurial citizens: Governmentality over and through Hong Kong influencers on Xiaohongshu (Red) (2022) Policy and Internet, 14 (3), pp. 618-632.
Building on Foucault’s perspective of governmentality, this article focuses on how influencers in Hong Kong China (HK) operate as agents/mediators of governmentality and how “governmentality” occurs over and through lifestyle influencers as responsible, productive, and self-disciplined citizen subjects on the Chinese biggest lifestyle sharing platform—Xiaohongshu (Red). By employing a collaboration of walkthrough and ethnographic methods, this article examines how Red’s influencer governance, intersecting both HK and Mainland Chinese contexts, guides, trains, and controls influencers and users to become relevant to the practices of entrepreneurial citizenship, and how influencers and their followers act through, rely on and negotiate with the governmental practices and authoritative discourses. These practices and discourses motivate influencers to not only transform themselves into entrepreneurial citizen subjects who could produce individualizing knowledge about self-care and self-governance as techniques of disciplining the community, but also expand the key governmental strategies of reconstructing an entrepreneurial identity with their followers on behalf of the government. Although Red is not a mainstream influencer platform in HK, “the governmentality over and through influencers” on Red provides fruitful cases that demonstrate how HK’s model of influencer governance is based on the bottom-up networks through little ways in which management, guidance, and control occur with the active engagement of individual citizens, social organizations, professional associations, and businesses to meet the desired goals of the central and HKSAR government. © 2022 The Authors. Policy & Internet published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Policy Studies Organization.
citizenship; entrepreneurial; governmentality; Hong Kong China; influencer governance; platforms