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Jack Qiu|Revisit Working-Class Network Society: China and the World


Jack Qiu|Revisit Working-Class Network Society: China and the World


Western theories of information society are often situated in post-industrial contexts with limited explanatory power in pre-industrial and industrializing regions of the Global South. Nearly a decade ago, Qiu developed the concept of working-class network society to better understand the rapid growth of ICTs in industrializing China and its implications for social class relations in Chinese cities. The central argument was about the rise of the information have-less (groups in between the have’s and have-not’s) whose existential needs serve as the basis for not only technological diffusion and economic growth but also continued social struggles, class formation dynamics, new vulnerabilities and dependency relations. In this talk, Qiu will revisit the concept of working-class network society as China has entered another phase of industrialization with a different role in the global economy. Does the idea of the information have-less still hold? For China, for the industrializing regions of the Global South, and for the world?

Jack Linchuan Qiu is a professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he serves as deputy director of the C-Centre (Centre for Chinese Media and Comparative Communication Research). His publications include World’s Factory in the Information Era 信息时代的世界工厂 (Guangxi Normal University Press, 2013), Working-Class Network Society (MIT Press, 2009), Mobile Communication and Society(co-authored, MIT Press, 2006), some of which have been translated into German, French, Spanish, Portugese, and Korean. He is on the editorial boards of 10 international academic journals, including six indexed in the SSCI, and is Associate Editor for Journal of Communication. He also works with grassroots NGOs and provides consultancy services for international organizations.



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