The Everyday Life Practices of Chinese Rural Migrants in Urban Villages
Chapter 6. Possession, Location, Connection: The place of television in home-making
Chapter 6Possession, Location, Connection: The place of television in home-making
To understand media, particularly television consumption as a dynamic factor in the migratory subjects’ settlement practices is not new in academic inquiry. The recent decades have seen a host of literature engaging in the intersection between electronic mediation and mass migration, which broadened and deepened our knowledge about the complex relationships between identity, place, and culture in the process of social and cultural transformation driven by modern migration (e.g. Gillespie, 1995, Morley and Robins, 1995, King and Wood, 2001, Ross and Playdon, 2001, Karima, 2003). However, it is striking to note that the studies in this field are almost overwhelmingly centred on the consumption of the contents mediated through television. What always evokes the enthusiasm of researchers are the moments when ‘moving images meet de-territorialised viewers’, which lead to ‘the new order of instability in the production of modern subjectivities’ (Appadurai, 1996: 4), whereas the material dimension of the intersection between television and migration tends to be overlooked. This theoretical bias reflects an unproblematic perception of the migratory subjects as always displaced and rootless on their migratory trajectory, having their identity formation overwhelmingly attached to the ‘virtual neighbourhoods, ‘imagined community’ or ‘displaced public spheres’ (Appadurai, 1996: 192). The bias also roots in the orthodoxy that characterises television merely as a medium of content, which has been only recently questioned.
The ubiquitous presence of the shining box in the rural migrant households and its integral permeation into...
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