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Communicating the City

Meanings, Practices, Interactions

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Edited By Giorgia Aiello, Matteo Tarantino and Kate Oakley

How human meanings, practices and interactions produce and are produced by urban space is the focus of this timely and exciting addition to the study of urban communication.

Challenging notions of the ‘urban’ as physically, economically or technologically determined, this book explores key intersections of discourse, materiality, technology, mobility, identity and inequality in acts of communication across urban and urbanizing contexts. From leisure and media consumption among Chinese migrant workers in a Guangdong village to the diverse networks and communication infrastructures of global cities like London and Los Angeles, this collection combines a range of perspectives to ask fundamental questions about the significance and status of cities in times of intensified mediation and connectivity.

With case studies from Italy, Britain, Ireland, Russia, the United States and China, this international collection demonstrates that both empirical and critical knowledge on the relationship between communication and urban life has become vital across the humanities and social sciences.

Communicating the City will be essential reading for all scholars and students who desire to gain an in-depth understanding of the multiple roles that media and communication have in lived experiences of the city.

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Chapter Five: Rural spaces, urban textures: Media, leisure, and identity in a Southern China industrial village (Matteo Tarantino / Chung-Tai Cheng)

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CHAPTER FIVE

Rural spaces, urban textures

Media, leisure, and identity in a Southern China industrial village

MATTEO TARANTINO AND CHUNG-TAI CHENG



INTRODUCTION

This chapter discusses how the space of the Chinese village of Daning, located in the Dongguan municipality of southern Guangdong province, has changed throughout the years to accommodate the leisure-related needs of migrant workers. We will focus in particular on the implications of spaces related to media and communication technologies. The chapter discusses two main theses: first, the practices related to workers’ entertainment needs have progressively become less spatially shared and more likely to be enacted in individualized spaces, in part due to new information and communication technology (ICT) affordances. Second, this individualization of leisure spaces might be a factor influencing the problems migrant workers have in elaborating a collective identity, a part of what Pun and Lu (2010) call “unfinished proletarization,” which leaves them disoriented and also socially vulnerable. To support these assertions, this section will discuss how the material arrangement of the village space relates to some of the ongoing power, economic, and identity dynamics in contemporary China, which are producing in-between spaces and in-between human beings who must constantly negotiate their “rural” provenience and “urban” aspirations. ← 65 | 66 →

THE LEISURE SPACES OF “FLOATING WORKERS”

Scholars have suggested several terms to describe the flows of people moving from the Chinese countryside toward the more urbanized and labour-intensive...

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