Visual encounters in global Shanghai: On the desirability of bodies in a coworking space

Publication by Aurelia M Ishitsuka , , , , , , , , ,
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Abstract in English:

The rise of Shanghai as a global city prompts the question: to whom does it belong? This article addresses the issue by examining the desirability of bodies in one of the city’s cosmopolitan spaces: a coworking space patronised by an international clientele. Drawing on an analysis of visual encounters in both physical and virtual spaces, it shows that the logic of belonging in the coworking community is based on the distinction between two kinds of bodies: the desirable one of the transnational professional and the undesirable one of the rural-urban migrant worker. While the latter is reduced to its working function, the former appears as a body complete with desires, whose interactions with others blur the separation of the professional and the intimate in line with the new spirit of capitalism. This visual ethnography provides insights on how economic changes reshape Shanghai’s urban life not only by reproducing local patterns of social exclusion, but also by encouraging racialised desires suited to capitalist accumulation on a global scale.

Open Access? No

Journal China Perspectives
Publication Year 2020
Volume 3

ISSN/ISBN 2070-3449

English | Discipline Social Science