Confronting global infrastructural capitalism: the triple logic of the 'vanguard' and its inevitable spatial and class contradictions in China's high-speed rail program

Ngai PUN*, Peier CHEN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

We take infrastructure as a ‘keyword’ in foregrounding the production and the reproduction of contemporary capitalism as well as its complexities and contradictions. To tease out the capitalist dynamics of the contemporary moment as infrastructural capitalism, this paper moves beyond a dichotomous constellation of the logic of capital and the territorial logic of power, to argue how a triple logic- capital, power, and culture informs the cultural politics, attempting to simultaneously resolve the economic crisis and glorify China’s fast-speed capitalism. As the vanguard of Chinese infrastructural politics, the high-speed rail spearheads the Chinese spatial economic system towards one that is not an alternative to capitalism but, at best, a variegated form of moving capitalism, which we call infrastructural capitalism. Illuminating the political role of the infrastructural projects in creating invisible social contradictions, this article highlights a wide array of affected working-class masses who take individual and collective actions that result in the reversion of ‘the vanguard’, dissolving the condensation of the materiality of infrastructural capitalism into the global assemblage of unpredictable but inescapable contradictions driving China into global imperial rivalries and class conflicts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalCultural Studies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

We would like to express our gratitude to two reviewers who provide valuable comments, and special thanks to Stephen Chan, Jin Shuheng and a group of graduate and undergraduate students who have participated in the study group in 2020-2021.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • China
  • High-speed rail
  • class conflict
  • cultural politics
  • infrastructural capitalism
  • logic of power

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Confronting global infrastructural capitalism: the triple logic of the 'vanguard' and its inevitable spatial and class contradictions in China's high-speed rail program'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this