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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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Navigating Mobile Networks of Sociality and Intimacy

Navigating Mobile Networks of Sociality and Intimacy

(p.91) 3 Navigating Mobile Networks of Sociality and Intimacy
Technomobility in China

Cara Wallis

NYU Press

This chapter examines young rural-to-urban migrant women's use of mobile phones for expanding and enriching various types of social relationships. It situates this discussion within Chinese concepts of selfhood and guanxi (relationship) and relates these to Pierre Bourdieu's notion of social capital. One's guanxi networks of personal relations can be thought of as one's local world, made up of relationships categorized into three zones: the “personal core” made up of family members and very close friends; the “reliable zone” consisting of good friends; and the “effective zone,” which is larger and more open and can include all friends, coworkers, relatives, and potentially (but not likely) all fellow villagers. To Bourdieu, one's position both enables and constrains access to social capital, and those who are linked to others who have a large quantity of various forms of capital—money, knowledge, position, prestige—will have an advantage in the “game of society.”

Keywords:   rural-to-urban migration, migrant women, mobile phones, social relationships, selfhood, guanxi, Pierre Bourdieu, social capital, personal core, reliable zone, effective zone

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