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(Dis)connecting the Pearl River Delta: Case study of a borderland telecommunications infrastructure in South China, 1978-2002
Unformatted Document Text:  Submission: ICA 2003, Communication & Technology Division TITLE: (Dis)connecting the Pearl River Delta: Case Study of a Borderland Telecommunications Infrastructure in South China, 1978-2002 ABSTRACT: This paper presents a theoretical framework and preliminary analytical results for the case study of telecommunications in the Pearl River Delta, a rapidly urbanizing region along China’s south coast. The author takes the Communication Infrastructure approach towards telecommunications, i.e. an ecological conceptualization of communication technologies as embedded in a storytelling system consisting of telecom providers, government entities, local residents, and mass media, all situated in a communication action context. A historical overview from 1978 to 2002 is provided. Then, drawn from intensive multi-method fieldwork, components of the regional telecommunications infrastructure are identified; and their interactions contextualized. Four generic types of disconnections (temporal- spatial breaks, stratificational gaps, institutional blockades, and social psychological dismissals) are proposed, leading to a more full-fledged discussion of (dis)connected- ness dynamics, in which the system of telecom technologies is construed as a prism for the examination of the regional social ecology at large. KEY WORDS: Pearl River Delta in China, case study, Telecommunications Infrastructure, (dis)connectedness, communication ecology

Authors: Qiu, Jack.
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Submission: ICA 2003, Communication & Technology Division
TITLE:

(Dis)connecting the Pearl River Delta: Case Study of a Borderland
Telecommunications Infrastructure in South China, 1978-2002
ABSTRACT:
This paper presents a theoretical framework and preliminary analytical results for the
case study of telecommunications in the Pearl River Delta, a rapidly urbanizing
region along China’s south coast. The author takes the Communication
Infrastructure approach towards telecommunications, i.e. an ecological
conceptualization of communication technologies as embedded in a storytelling
system consisting of telecom providers, government entities, local residents, and
mass media, all situated in a communication action context. A historical overview
from 1978 to 2002 is provided. Then, drawn from intensive multi-method fieldwork,
components of the regional telecommunications infrastructure are identified; and
their interactions contextualized. Four generic types of disconnections (temporal-
spatial breaks, stratificational gaps, institutional blockades, and social psychological
dismissals) are proposed, leading to a more full-fledged discussion of (dis)connected-
ness dynamics, in which the system of telecom technologies is construed as a prism
for the examination of the regional social ecology at large.
KEY WORDS:
Pearl River Delta in China, case study, Telecommunications Infrastructure,
(dis)connectedness, communication ecology


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