All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

(Dis)connecting the Pearl River Delta: Case study of a borderland telecommunications infrastructure in South China, 1978-2002
Unformatted Document Text:  17 easier since the storytelling system is now governed by multiple rationales, not only administrative and political, but also commercial, cultural, and subcultural. 41 (DIS)CONNECTIONS The above discussion of more complicated interactions among telecom players in the Pearl River Delta entails a systematic analyses of these array of relationships characterized by different types of connections and disconnections. Following previous theorization, I will first explicate the four types of disconnections, and then discuss the interplay between connectedness and disconnectedness in the context of regional history. The four generic types of disconnections are (1) spatial-temporal breaks, (2) stratificational gaps, (3) institutional blockades, and (4) social psycho- logical dismissals. Breaks result from nature-based discontinuities in matrices of time and space, within which telecom actors are situated and constrained. The capacity of human communication, including telecommunications, to make connections across spatial and/or temporal distances is the most fundamental bond across breaks. In the case of the Pearl River Delta, an expansive region full of complex terrains (waterways in the center, islands in the south, and mountains on the east, west, and northern sides) the intercepting capacity of spatial discontinuities should not be underestimated. 42 Certain natural barriers are also reinforced by administrative borders, such as Shenzhen River, the boundary between mainland and Hong Kong. Even within mainland territories, city borders still matter greatly as for how the telecom market is divided, not only among different players but also among branch offices of the same telecom company. 43 These spatial disconnections, however, are greatly reduced given rapid telecom developments in fixed network construction and the 41 By subcultural rationale I mean the logics used by marginal groups such as immigrant subculture or juvenile subculture. 42 For instance, in late 1970s, local cadres in southern Foshan prefecture had to take a full week’s journey for a meeting in downtown Foshan (interview with Mr. Peng, Foshan City Government official). 43 An example is Shenda Telephone Co., Ltd., which can only operate in Shenzhen with its foreign investment privileges. (It started to receive investment from Cable & Wireless Hong Kong in 1983 when no foreign entity was allowed to invest in telecom in the rest of China.) The best example for the constraint of administrative-geographical boundaries within the same company is prepaid IP-phone cards. During the fieldwork I learned through my purchases that a phone card bought in one city might not work in a neighboring city, although it looks almost identical to the phone cards issued by the same company in the neighboring city. A manager at Guoxin Telecommunications explained that this was because the local branches of the same company are financially independent, and they needed to set up the phone cards in a spatially restricted manner so that, if one branch decides to lower card price, this won’t have an immediate effect on other city-branches in the region.

Authors: Qiu, Jack.
first   previous   Page 19 of 40   next   last



background image
17
easier since the storytelling system is now governed by multiple rationales, not only
administrative and political, but also commercial, cultural, and subcultural.
41
(DIS)CONNECTIONS
The above discussion of more complicated interactions among telecom players in the
Pearl River Delta entails a systematic analyses of these array of relationships
characterized by different types of connections and disconnections. Following
previous theorization, I will first explicate the four types of disconnections, and then
discuss the interplay between connectedness and disconnectedness in the context of
regional history. The four generic types of disconnections are (1) spatial-temporal
breaks, (2) stratificational gaps, (3) institutional blockades, and (4) social psycho-
logical dismissals.
Breaks result from nature-based discontinuities in matrices of time and space, within
which telecom actors are situated and constrained. The capacity of human
communication, including telecommunications, to make connections across spatial
and/or temporal distances is the most fundamental bond across breaks. In the case
of the Pearl River Delta, an expansive region full of complex terrains (waterways in
the center, islands in the south, and mountains on the east, west, and northern sides)
the intercepting capacity of spatial discontinuities should not be underestimated.
42
Certain natural barriers are also reinforced by administrative borders, such as
Shenzhen River, the boundary between mainland and Hong Kong. Even within
mainland territories, city borders still matter greatly as for how the telecom market
is divided, not only among different players but also among branch offices of the
same telecom company.
43
These spatial disconnections, however, are greatly
reduced given rapid telecom developments in fixed network construction and the
41
By subcultural rationale I mean the logics used by marginal groups such as immigrant subculture or
juvenile subculture.
42
For instance, in late 1970s, local cadres in southern Foshan prefecture had to take a full week’s journey
for a meeting in downtown Foshan (interview with Mr. Peng, Foshan City Government official).
43
An example is Shenda Telephone Co., Ltd., which can only operate in Shenzhen with its foreign
investment privileges. (It started to receive investment from Cable & Wireless Hong Kong in 1983 when
no foreign entity was allowed to invest in telecom in the rest of China.) The best example for the
constraint of administrative-geographical boundaries within the same company is prepaid IP-phone cards.
During the fieldwork I learned through my purchases that a phone card bought in one city might not work
in a neighboring city, although it looks almost identical to the phone cards issued by the same company in
the neighboring city. A manager at Guoxin Telecommunications explained that this was because the local
branches of the same company are financially independent, and they needed to set up the phone cards in
a spatially restricted manner so that, if one branch decides to lower card price, this won’t have an
immediate effect on other city-branches in the region.


Convention
Need a solution for abstract management? All Academic can help! Contact us today to find out how our system can help your annual meeting.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 19 of 40   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.