The Labor of Reinvention: Entrepreneurship in the New Chinese Digital Economy

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Product Details
Columbia University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.9 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Lin Zhang is assistant professor of communication and media studies at the University of New Hampshire.

The Labor of Reinvention makes a crucial and timely contribution to scholarship on global digital capitalism and platform studies in East Asia. Drawing on years of ethnographic work, communication, and political economy, Lin Zhang importantly contributes to our understanding of neoliberalism in China and the global creative industries; theorizing the concept of 'entrepreneurial labor, ' Zhang offers readers a brilliant perspective on digital labor in the post-2008 economy of China. A must-read for anyone working in media and creative industries!--Sarah Banet-Weiser, author of Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny
China's economic and social restructuring following the 2008 global economic crisis was remarkable, and Zhang tells it with vividness, compassion, and intelligence. The Labor of Reinvention brings a multivalent bottom-up approach to understanding the labor involved in making digital capitalism work in this national context. A gifted storyteller, Zhang makes the experiences of worker families living in a 'Taobao village' come alive on the page.--Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
The Labor of Reinvention provides a different and much-needed perspective on entrepreneurialism, studies of which have tended to prioritize a white Western subject, and in so doing essentialized others. Zhang insightfully examines the rupture between the promotion and lived experiences of entrepreneurship in the post-recession Chinese context, focusing on entrepreneurial reinvention--the labor of reworking oneself as an entrepreneur--and considers how this reinvention is involved in broader Chinese national economic and social projects.--Alice E. Marwick, author of Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity and Branding in the Social Media Age
Based on long-term ethnographic research, Lin Zhang's The Labor of Reinvention vividly delineates the lives and work of urban, rural, and transnational entrepreneurial laborers in post-2008 China. In doing so, the book not only reveals the complex meanings of new entrepreneurial selves in China but also produces a powerful critique of the ideology of entrepreneurialism in global capitalism. A major contribution.--Guobin Yang, author of The Wuhan Lockdown
[A] granular, grass-roots, bottom-up view of the past couple of decades of the development of China's digital landscape . . . it is a very good book.--Peter Gordon "Asian Review of Books"
I highly recommend this book to any scholar in social sciences interested in the Chinese development, and the related entrepreneurial environment, digital platforms, and technological innovation ecosystem.--Han Chu "Eurasian Geography and Economics"
The Labor of Reinvention will inspire research on digital entrepreneurialism and labour studies.--Jenny Chan "The China Quarterly"
Zhang's book is an engaging read for people studying digital platforms and labor.--Alberto Lusoli "International Journal of Communication"
Zhang provides a comprehensive guide to understanding the new Chinese digital economy and the pivotal role played by entrepreneurship. It avoids a one-sided interpretation of Chinese phenomena from a Western perspective and transcends the grand historical narratives.--Qianlu Sun "The Communication Review"