This is a collection of seven essays on media and society in China translated from the leading Chinese-language journal
Open Times. Authored mostly by scholars based in China, this volume offers a panoramic view on contemporary Chinese thoughts regarding media industries in a rapidly transforming society, especially the central role played by digital media such as Internet and smart phone. The book consists of three parts: (a) socialist media, transformed; (b) critical events and public interests; and (c) Internet, grassroots and social movements. Together they reflect a wide range of views – left, right, and center – on the past, present, and future of media reform and social transformation in China today.
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.