Public intimacy: Contestation over young Chinese rural migrants love life
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Communication and the Public, 2016, 1 (2), pp. 263 - 268
- Issue Date:
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Reforms in China’s household registration system over the past few decades have allowed vast number of rural residents to enter the city in search of work. Young factory workers are subject to a high level of discipline within the industrial regime. The dearth of time, space, and money has one practical implication for workers’ love lives: often enough, it is difficult to practice intimacy, and when they do try, it may have to be in public places. In January 2013, a group of 30 photos appeared on ifeng.com, an online platform for Phoenix TV and one of China’s best known Internet portals. Entitled “Rural Migrants’ Love in Dongguan,” these photos “went viral” within a short period of time, appearing on many websites in China and beyond. Through a juxtaposition of public debates online and some workers’ own views on these images, this article discusses the cultural politics of class and visibility in the digital age.
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