“Social” Money and Working-class Subjectivities: Digital Money and Migrant Labour in Shenzhen, China
MetadataShow full item record
Tom McDonald, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Hong Kong University - Scholars of Chinese society have predominantly regarded the region’s money to represent an unusually “social” artefact. The dramatic proliferation of “digital money” services within Chinese social media platforms in the last decade would seem to further confirm the social character of Chinese money. I present a comparison of the diverse views held by migrant factory workers in Shenzhen towards different digital payment platforms which, however, suggests that rather than digital money necessarily being more or less social, different platforms instead extend the possibilities of sociality in varying ways. I argue that acknowledging the production of such novel working-class subjectivities through digital money ought to be central to efforts to assess the potential of these technologies for addressing the social, institutional and economic exclusions faced by Chinese migrant labourers. This in turn can enrich our understanding of the emergence of a new “digital working-class” in China, by revealing how such contemporary working-class subjectivities are shifting, contextual and processual in nature.
Video of full lecture with presentation slides edited into the video.
Cornell East Asia Program
East Asia Program, Cornell University
history; East Asia; China; digital money; working class
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Closed captions available
The following license files are associated with this item:
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International