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Technomobility in ChinaYoung Migrant Women and Mobile Phones$
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Cara Wallis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814795262

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814795262.001.0001

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“My First Big Urban Purchase”

“My First Big Urban Purchase”

Mobile Technologies and Modern Subjectivity

(p.63) 2 “My First Big Urban Purchase”
Technomobility in China

Cara Wallis

NYU Press

This chapter situates the mobile phone specifically within China's quest for development and modernity. It illustrates how the mobile phone is an important signifier of urban modernity for rural women, and argues that the mobile phone is a technology of the self that is articulated to self-shaping as well as disciplines and exclusions. By buying an expensive mobile phone young migrant women were claiming a lifestyle they wanted to lead, in addition to the relationships they hoped to sustain, and they were producing themselves in a particular manner, one that contested the dominant discourses surrounding rural women and “backwardness.” Mobile phones allow women to participate in a form of consumer citizenship in contrast to the legal and social citizenship they are denied in the city. The chapter concludes by exploring more deeply the constitutive nature of gender and technology by presenting an in-depth case study of a beauty salon.

Keywords:   Mobile phone, China, development, modernity, rural women, backwardness, consumer citizenship, gender, technology

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