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Location: 32/38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW - View map
Speakers: Dr Kimberley Chong

An Ethnographic Perspective on China’s Knowledge Factories

The revolution in information and communication technologies has gone hand-in-hand with the outsourcing of knowledge-based work to offshore service centres in hitherto unthinkable locations. One such place is China where an explosion in offshore activity has often been taken as evidence that the Chinese economy is moving up the value chain and away from its manufacturing base. But as capital chases new sources of cheap labour in the services sector it creates white-collar workplaces reminiscent of Fordist organisations, except for their regimes of global corporate culture. These regimes feed into a cosmopolitan imaginary which knowledge workers consume and produce as employees of knowledge factories. Corporate culture does more than mystify, it can also resonate with workers' projects of individual agency.

Using an ethnographic approach, this talk will explore the tensions experienced by Chinese knowledge workers to find self-realization as middle-class, urban subjects through their everyday experiences of proletarianized, labour intensive, processing work in China's outsourcing industry.

Speakers Bio

Dr Kimberley Chong
Kimberly is a research fellow in the Department of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College, London. Trained in economics, sociology and anthropology, she has carried out research on China's market economy, financialisation and financial markets. She completed her PhD in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. As part of her doctoral research she carried out 16 months of fieldwork inside the China arm of a global management consultancy, and interviewed over 80 China-based professionals in the consulting and outsourcing industries. Kimberly has recently been awarded a research grant by the Institute of New Economic Thinking to write her first book, provisionally titled, Managing Uncertainty in post-Mao China: A Human-Centred Approach to Financialisation.
She has been a visiting scholar to New York University and is a member of the research group, ‘Cultures of Finance’ at the Institute for Public Knowledge, New York. She holds a MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and a BA in Economics and Sociology from Selwyn College, University of Cambridge.

Location:
32/38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW - View map

Speakers:
Dr Kimberley Chong

An Ethnographic Perspective on China’s Knowledge Factories

The revolution in information and communication technologies has gone hand-in-hand with the outsourcing of knowledge-based work to offshore service centres in hitherto unthinkable locations. One such place is China where an explosion in offshore activity has often been taken as evidence that the Chinese economy is moving up the value chain and away from its manufacturing base. But as capital chases new sources of cheap labour in the services sector it creates white-collar workplaces reminiscent of Fordist organisations, except for their regimes of global corporate culture. These regimes feed into a cosmopolitan imaginary which knowledge workers consume and produce as employees of knowledge factories. Corporate culture does more than mystify, it can also resonate with workers' projects of individual agency.

Using an ethnographic approach, this talk will explore the tensions experienced by Chinese knowledge workers to find self-realization as middle-class, urban subjects through their everyday experiences of proletarianized, labour intensive, processing work in China's outsourcing industry.

Speakers Bio

Dr Kimberley Chong
Kimberly is a research fellow in the Department of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College, London. Trained in economics, sociology and anthropology, she has carried out research on China's market economy, financialisation and financial markets. She completed her PhD in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. As part of her doctoral research she carried out 16 months of fieldwork inside the China arm of a global management consultancy, and interviewed over 80 China-based professionals in the consulting and outsourcing industries. Kimberly has recently been awarded a research grant by the Institute of New Economic Thinking to write her first book, provisionally titled, Managing Uncertainty in post-Mao China: A Human-Centred Approach to Financialisation.
She has been a visiting scholar to New York University and is a member of the research group, ‘Cultures of Finance’ at the Institute for Public Knowledge, New York. She holds a MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and a BA in Economics and Sociology from Selwyn College, University of Cambridge.