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Foxconn: The Disruption of iSlavery

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image of Asiascape: Digital Asia

This paper connects the scholarship of labour sociology with studies of information and communication technologies (ICTs). It contends that, despite the wonders of social progress associated with digital technologies, the emergence of the digital electronics manufacturing industry in Asia has led to serious regressions in society. Among the worst of such digital disruptions is the challenge of Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer and one of the most notorious sweatshops in the history of industrial capitalism. Tragedies at Foxconn force us to reconsider industrialization and the role of ICTs so fundamentally that it requires us to revisit old regimes of slavery in order to fully understand these events. From a critical historical perspective, this paper examines disruptive moments in Foxconn while developing the idea of iSlavery and, in particular, manufacturing iSlaves, as a conceptual device to rethink the Foxconn suicides as emblematic of a disruptive and disrupted digital Asia.

Affiliations: 1: School of Journalism and CommunicationThe Chinese University of Hong Kong ; 2: School of Journalism and CommunicationThe Chinese University of Hong Kong


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