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Working-Class Network SocietyCommunication Technology and the Information Have-Less in Urban China$
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Jack Linchuan Qiu

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262170062

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262170062.001.0001

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Life and Death

Life and Death

(p.197) 7 Life and Death
Working-Class Network Society

Jack Linchuan Qiu

The MIT Press

This chapter deals with the city of the information have-less in a broader scope by introducing the city underneath: the informal economy, the places and processes of underground networks, and their relationship with working-class information and communication technologies (ICTs). It develops a critical appraisal of three new media events: the Lanjisu cybercafé fire in 2002; the killing of a migrant, Sun Zhigang, in 2003; and the Ma Jiajue dormitory murder case in 2004. These events, in which young people lost their lives, triggered powerful public responses, and demonstrate the fatal outcomes of inequality, discrimination, and injustice. The role of working-class ICTs is notable in these cases because they differ from the mass media in terms of their content and organizational principles.

Keywords:   informal economy, underground networks, working-class ICTs, Lanjisu cybercafé fire, Sun Zhigang, Ma Jiajue dormitory, inequality, discrimination, injustice, mass media

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