Foxconn: The Disruption of iSlavery

in Asiascape: Digital Asia
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This paper connects the scholarship of labour sociology with studies of information and communication technologies (icts). It contends that, despite the wonders of social progress associated with digital technologies, the emergence of the digital electronics manufacturing industry in Asia has led to serious regressions in society. Among the worst of such digital disruptions is the challenge of Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer and one of the most notorious sweatshops in the history of industrial capitalism. Tragedies at Foxconn force us to reconsider industrialization and the role of icts so fundamentally that it requires us to revisit old regimes of slavery in order to fully understand these events. From a critical historical perspective, this paper examines disruptive moments in Foxconn while developing the idea of iSlavery and, in particular, manufacturing iSlaves, as a conceptual device to rethink the Foxconn suicides as emblematic of a disruptive and disrupted digital Asia.

Foxconn: The Disruption of iSlavery

in Asiascape: Digital Asia

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References

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Figures

  • View in gallery
    The slave ship Brooks and the plan of its lower deck, 1788.

    source: us library of congress (digital id: cph.3a34658).

  • View in gallery
    Inside the peace dormitory building at Foxconn Longhua, 2006.

    source: netease (2006).

  • View in gallery
    Slave ship equipped with anti-jumping net, as depicted by Olaudah Equiano, 1745-1797.

    source: o’neil (2011).

  • View in gallery
    A typical Foxconn dormitory building with anti-jumping nets.

    line work: kwan kei heung.

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