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China’s Digital Working Class
September 12, 2017 - 14:15-16:00
Open lecture with Professor Jack Linchuan Qiu, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Old and new working-class people in China are adopting and appropriating digital media, while the digital economy is creating entirely new jobs, communities, and socio-political dynamics. The digital working class marks a fourth stage in the modern history of Chinese class politics, when China has become the world’s factory with immense labor power and increasing social inequality, when the content of Chinese working-class culture has become more diverse and impactful than ever as could be seen in the Fan Yusu phenomenon in spring 2017, all happening at a time when the results of China’s internal processes become more consequential for the world at large. What are the characteristics of China’s digital working class? How can we make sense of it, through what conceptual frameworks? This talk shall discuss the applicability of the “circuits of labor” model (Qiu, Gregg and Crawford, 2014), its premises, limits and implications for future research.