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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:  23 telecommunications – the needs to bridge disconnections. The above review of disconnections, therefore, illustrate in a more systematic way what types of barriers exist, which corresponds with what connections are needed: more technological connections are needed for temporal-spatial breaks; more equality and discussions of universal service are needed to bridge the stratificational gaps; to prevent blockades, we need more policy facilitation with long-term planning; and to alleviate social psychological dismissals, more sense of belonging and attachment is needed, especially among marginal groups. Among long-term residents of the Delta region, there have been grievances about the loss of community in the past two decades. 66 The unraveling of the disconnections is necessary for a more complete mapping of the regional telecommunications ecology, which accommodates not only new technologies but also the players who tell stories about telecom and/or take concrete actions in shaping the technology, en route to a new form of community in the Pearl River Delta. CONCLUDING REMARKS This paper has introduced the Communication Infrastructure approach to telecommunications, which emphasizes the social context and the dynamic processes by which decisions related to telecom technologies are deliberated, implemented, and changed in the formation of a new regional communication ecology. Discussions are held against the historical backdrop (1978-2002) of Pearl River Delta, the area that pioneers globally oriented regionalization processes in China. A few points can be summarized at the end of this preliminary exploration. First, the system of telecommunications can and should be seen as a prism through which social structure and social change are examined, especially in the contemporary age when the importance of communication technologies is greater than ever. The telecommunication infrastructure, including its action context and the storytelling system, is a social ecology in itself. It constitutes not just a single domain of public policy, urban planning, or economics but a central realm for the understanding of society through the perspective of communication. This paper is an initial attempt to develop and utilize this Telecommunication Infrastructure approach. 66 See Chan et al (1992:294-295) for how long-term Delta residents lamented about the evaporation of local community in the post-Mao era.

Authors: Qiu, Jack.
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23
telecommunications – the needs to bridge disconnections. The above review of
disconnections, therefore, illustrate in a more systematic way what types of barriers
exist, which corresponds with what connections are needed: more technological
connections are needed for temporal-spatial breaks; more equality and discussions
of universal service are needed to bridge the stratificational gaps; to prevent
blockades, we need more policy facilitation with long-term planning; and to alleviate
social psychological dismissals, more sense of belonging and attachment is needed,
especially among marginal groups. Among long-term residents of the Delta region,
there have been grievances about the loss of community in the past two decades.
66
The unraveling of the disconnections is necessary for a more complete mapping of
the regional telecommunications ecology, which accommodates not only new
technologies but also the players who tell stories about telecom and/or take concrete
actions in shaping the technology, en route to a new form of community in the Pearl
River Delta.
CONCLUDING REMARKS
This paper has introduced the Communication Infrastructure approach to
telecommunications, which emphasizes the social context and the dynamic processes
by which decisions related to telecom technologies are deliberated, implemented,
and changed in the formation of a new regional communication ecology. Discussions
are held against the historical backdrop (1978-2002) of Pearl River Delta, the area
that pioneers globally oriented regionalization processes in China. A few points can
be summarized at the end of this preliminary exploration.
First, the system of telecommunications can and should be seen as a prism through
which social structure and social change are examined, especially in the
contemporary age when the importance of communication technologies is greater
than ever. The telecommunication infrastructure, including its action context and the
storytelling system, is a social ecology in itself. It constitutes not just a single
domain of public policy, urban planning, or economics but a central realm for the
understanding of society through the perspective of communication. This paper is an
initial attempt to develop and utilize this Telecommunication Infrastructure approach.
66
See Chan et al (1992:294-295) for how long-term Delta residents lamented about the evaporation of
local community in the post-Mao era.


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