The Labor of Reinvention – Entrepreneurship in the New Chinese Digital Economy
Columbia University Press (2023)
292 Seiten, ca. 30,00 €
Der Verlag über das Buch
From start-up founders in the Chinese equivalent of Silicon Valley to rural villages experiencing an e-commerce boom to middle-class women reselling luxury goods, the rise of internet-based entrepreneurship has affected every part of China. For many, reinventing oneself as an entrepreneur has appeared to be an appealing way to adapt to a changing economy and society. Yet in practice, digital entrepreneurship has also reinforced traditional Chinese ideas about state power, labor, gender, and identity.
Lin Zhang explores how the everyday labor of entrepreneurial reinvention is remaking China amid changing geopolitical currents. She tells the stories of people from diverse class, gender, and age backgrounds across rural, urban, and transnational settings in rich detail, providing a multifaceted and ground-level view of the twenty-first-century Chinese economy. Zhang explores the surge in digital entrepreneurialism against the backdrop of global financial crises, the U.S.-China trade war, and the COVID-19 pandemic. She argues that the rise of internet-based industries and practices has simultaneously empowered and exploited digital entrepreneurs and laborers. Despite embracing high-tech innovation, state-led entrepreneurialization does not represent a radical break with the past. It has provided a means for implementing developmental goals while retaining the importance of the traditional family and generating new inequalities. Shedding new light on global capitalism and the digital economy by centering a non-Western perspective, The Labor of Reinvention vividly conveys how the contradictions of entrepreneurialism have played out in China.