Beijing's Media Urbanism and the Chimera of Legitimacy

Book Pages: 272 Illustrations: 87 illustrations Published: March 2020

Author: Joshua Neves

Asian Studies > East Asia, Globalization and Neoliberalism, Media Studies > Media Technologies

Despite China's recent emergence as a major global economic and geopolitical power, its association with counterfeit goods and intellectual property piracy has led many in the West to dismiss its urbanization and globalization as suspect or inauthentic. In Underglobalization Joshua Neves examines the cultural politics of the “fake” and how frictions between legality and legitimacy propel dominant models of economic development and political life in contemporary China. Focusing on a wide range of media technologies and practices in Beijing, Neves shows how piracy and fakes are manifestations of what he calls underglobalization—the ways social actors undermine and refuse to implement the specific procedures and protocols required by globalization at different scales. By tracking the rise of fake politics and transformations in political society, in China and globally, Neves demonstrates that they are alternate outcomes of globalizing processes rather than anathema to them.


“Through a meticulous and multivalent study of the many discourses and practices around the fake, Joshua Neves provides us a kaleidoscopic and fascinating view of the sociality and media culture of contemporary Beijing, China, Asia, and the world. This truly interdisciplinary work draws resources from many fields and many cultures, and it demonstrates vividly how the logic of development densely infiltrates our mentality and ways of living.” — Laikwan Pang, author of Creativity and Its Discontents: China’s Creative Industries and Intellectual Property Rights Offense

“Joshua Neves treats the transformations of Beijing's cityscape as an experienced physical reality, an imagined construct in popular culture and art, and representative of what is happening in China. By disclosing what is distinctive and elusive about China's seemingly triumphant developmental nation-building project, Neves makes a provocative intervention at the nexus of several interdisciplinary subfields, from urban media studies and Asian developmental studies to postsocialism studies and global subaltern studies.” — Dilip P. Gaonkar, Professor in Rhetoric and Public Culture, Northwestern University

"Neves has written a meticulously sourced analysis of the cultural transformation of societies, focusing on the appearance of fakes and forgeries in China. . . . Recommended. Graduate students and faculty researchers." — S. C. Hart, Choice

"The experience of reading Joshua Neves's Underglobalization is a bit like watching an experimental film.… Bringing an innovative approach to media that focuses on forms, technologies, practices, and infrastructures, Neves has produced a captivating account that challenges the methodological complacencies of much scholarship at the intersection of China, media, and globalization." — Fan Yang, Film Quarterly


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Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Joshua Neves is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, Film Studies at Concordia University and coeditor of Asian Video Cultures: In the Penumbra of the Global, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction. After Legitimacy  1
1. Rendering the City: Between Ruins and Blueprints  33
2. Digital Urbanism: Piratical Citizenship and the Infrastructure of Dissensus  61
3. Bricks and Media: Cinema's Technologized Spatiality  94
4. Beijing en Abyme: Television and the Unhomely Social  120
5. Videation: Technological Intimacy and the Politics of Global Connection  150
6. People as Media Infrastructure: Illicit Culture and the Pornographics of Globalization  169
Notes  169
Bibliography  227
Index  245
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0805-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0763-0