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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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Picturing the Self, Imagining the World

Picturing the Self, Imagining the World

(p.119) 4 Picturing the Self, Imagining the World
Technomobility in China

Cara Wallis

NYU Press

This chapter builds on the notion of immobile mobility and necessary convergence through examining migrant uses of camera phones. For the rural-to-urban migrant women that were interviewed, a camera phone was their first camera. Though many women involved in the initial fieldwork did not have cameras in their phones due to financial reasons, those who did manifested creativity in asserting a personal digital aesthetic. The chapter engages with theories of imaging and photography in discussing how migrant women use camera phones to represent the world, construct the self, transcend limited circumstances, envisage new possibilities, and plan for the future. It argues that such imaging practices are ultimately about self-making and actively deploying the imagination. The chapter concludes that in using camera phones to both represent and construct reality, migrant women exercise individual agency and engage in efforts at personal transformation, which is a first step toward societal change.

Keywords:   immobile mobility, necessary convergence, camera phones, rural-to-urban migration, migrant women, personal digital aesthetic, imaging, photography, individual agency, societal change

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