Towards a new progressive labour culture? Industry-oriented channels, bitter and precarious structure of feeling and worker solidarity in China

Yang ZHOU*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

Abstract

This article explores the progressive potential of commercial industry-oriented channels (IoCs), an emerging form of media produced by and addressed to workers of specific industries, on China’s digital platforms. Juxtaposing textual analysis with worker-audience interviews and participant observation, I found that despite the collusion of state surveillance and platform governance, IoCs prove instrumental in fostering resistive labour subjects and collectives among ordinary workers. This is due to IoCs’ genre convention and discourses, but more importantly, to worker-audience’s bitter and precarious structure of feeling that mediates their collective reception processes. The findings complicate our understanding of the potential of media/cultural production for labour resistance, highlighting the role of worker-audience in the circuit of progressive labour culture and the potential of commercial media in fostering radical class subjects. Drawing on the analysis, I further advance a model of worker media as double articulation, to open up more hermeneutic and action space for cultural labour activism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedia, Culture & Society
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • bitter and precarious structure of feeling
  • China
  • cultural labour activism
  • industry-oriented channels
  • worker-audience

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