You are here

The Global Financial Crisis as Opportunity for Resistance

Hong Kong.
The final speaker in this session at The Internet Turning 40 is Jack Qiu, who highlights the impact of the current financial crisis (in a study focussing on China and South Korea) and begins by playing a melody originally created to commemorate the Kwangju massacre in Korea which has now been repurposed as a kind of pan-Asian "Internationale" (and was performed in this version by the New Labour Art Troupe, a migrant workers orchestra in China which has released three CDs so far and also published its music online under a Creative Commons licence).

Building on this, it is possible to correct some misperceptions about Asia, social movements, and ICTs - of Asian people as being obedient to authority, as being adept at computer technologies but not using them for social activism, and as being cowed into submission by constant surveillance and censorship. The gobal financial crisis highlights a number of interesting citizen activities which do not fit this image - public (non-official) discourse is much richer than some might expect.

What may be necessary here may be a much longer-term perspective (over a longue durée of several millennia) that tracks social, industrial, economic, and societal shifts. Asia's recent economic emergence may be the product of an industrious revolution since the 900s, for example, not just of industrial and economic developments since the mid-1900s or a more recent 'neoliberal' shift.

In both China and Korea, the economic crisis has led to a variety of nationalistic discourses, but in China, there has also been a resurgence of leftist discussion - tied also into the recent succession of suicides at iPhone manufacturer Foxconn and other problems with working conditions in Chinese industries. Such bottom-up resistance in Korea is driven more by youth culture (and orchestrated by youths who are mainly working in immaterial labour areas), while in China it is industrial labourers who are particularly active. In both countries, there is an aim to transform the recession into an opportunity for social progression. This situation may call for a special 'R-type' form of communication research, Jack suggests, which explicitly aims to examine developments at times of recession.

Technorati : , , , , , , : , , , , , ,