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Migrant Technologies: (re)producing (un)freedoms - Jack Qiu's presentation at Morning Panel


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On 20th May 2016 UNU-CS hosted an event on Migrant Technologies: (re)producing (un)freedoms in Macau.

The one-day event brought together scholars, practitioners and activists to share learning and exchange ideas on the range of migrant technologies research being conducted across Asia and explore future collaborative approaches.

The key theme addressed at the event was how the use of mobile technologies adds layers of freedoms and unfreedoms to migration.

Speakers of the day include:

Introduction and Welcome: Michael Best, Director of UNU-CS
Opening Remarks: Tony Roberts, UNU-CS

Morning Panel: Emerging themes in Migrant Technology research
- Chair: Tony Roberts, UNU-CS
- Jack Qiu, Chinese University of Hong Kong - Freedom, Slavery, and Working-Class ICTs: Learning from Chinese Migrant Workers in Foxconn
- Nikos Dacanay, Chiang Mai University - ICT usage and how ethnic migrant women in northern Thailand indigenize/mediate human rights’ discourse of gender equality
- Odalia Wong, Baptist University of Hong Kong - Transnational Mothers and Mobile Phone Usage: The Case of the Filipino Female Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
- Discussant: Rhodora A. Abano, Centre for Migrant Advocacy in Philippines

Afternoon Panel: New Migrant Technologies
- Chair: Tony Roberts, UNU-CS
- Kayoko Ueno, University of Tokushima - Facebook Activism and Networking among Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore
- Jude Yew, National University of Singapore - Pemca: A proposed mobile platform for crowdsourcing the reporting and visualization of migrant worker injuries/deaths
- Kakit Cheong, National University of Singapore - Kwento: Designing a family storytelling mobile application for domestic helpers
- Discussant: Fish Ip, International Domestic Workers Federation

Published in: Technology
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Migrant Technologies: (re)producing (un)freedoms - Jack Qiu's presentation at Morning Panel

  1. 1. JACK QIU Chinese University of Hong Kong Migrant Technologies: (re)producing (un)freedoms Friday, 20th May, 2016 10:00am – 4:30pm Nations University Institute on Computing and Society for a free, one-day event where we bring together scholars, practitioners and o panel discussions to share our understandings and research on information and communication technology (ICT) use by migrants from Asia. r now on Eventbrite by 15th May 2016 to secure your place for the event 922537982. : Casa Silva Mendes, Estrada do o Trigo No 4, Macau SAR, China to the main entrance of Hotel Guia) y: MIGRANT TECHNOLOGIES: (RE)PRODUCING (UN)FREEDOMS Emerging themes in Migrant Technology research Morningpanel Freedom, Slavery, and Working-Class ICTs: Learning from Chinese Migrant Workers in Foxconn
  2. 2. Freedom, Slavery, & Working-Class ICTS: Learning from Migrant Workers in Foxconn Jack Linchuan Qiu
  3. 3. Snapshots from (2016-forthcoming, U of Illinois Press)
  4. 4. Migrants & Working- Class ICTs: Emancipating or Enslaving?
  5. 5. ISLAVE: TWO SUBTYPES  Manufacturing – rural-to-urban migrants, institutionally disempowered, low pay, poor work conditions, making gadgets  Manufactured – consumers influenced by marketing, culturally absorbed, “immaterial labor”, making UGC  Commonalities – long work time, body discipline, atomized social life
  6. 6. MANUFACTURING iSLAVE alissaorlando1 maomaobear
  7. 7. Foxconn Suicide Express, 2010
  8. 8. Foxconn & Apple Blamed
  9. 9. FINANCIAL TIMES Foxconn Facilities in China, 2011
  10. 10. Living Conditions Since Feitorias
  11. 11. Lower Deck in Middle Passage
  12. 12. Student “Interns”
  13. 13. Anti-Jumping Nets
  14. 14. Disposal of Workers
  15. 15. Testimony from Tian Yu
  16. 16. Weibo
  17. 17. A Typology of WGC (Worker-Generated Content)
  18. 18. CONCLUSION: FREEDOM BEYOND FOXCONN  Freedom is better defined in the negative – i.e., in de facto status of not being a slave  Pernicious parallels between 21c sweatshops & 17c slavery – both based on unfree migrant workers  Attention to the production not just consumption of ICTs  Labor resistance as basis for true emancipation
  19. 19. Thank You
  20. 20. Define slavery? • Slavery: an essential feature of historical capitalism, even today; • Slavery mutates over time – from inmates & gang labor to familia caesaries • The goal is to exploit unfairly the labor &/or body of the enslaved; • Sociologically it works through “natal alienation”;
  21. 21. Understanding slavery • Resistance & abolition are fundamental to slavery & to our understanding of it; • Slave systems wax & wane, resulting from & accelerating geopolitical change; • Hegemonic consumption culture, relying on communication and media, is a pillar of slave-powered economies;
  22. 22. Understanding slavery • Slavery as de facto condition rather than de jure status; • “the powers attaching to the right of ownership”: – e.g., possession, transfer, profit, disposal; – slavery & “institutions & practices similar to slavery” exist if any of these powers is found to have been exercised.