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Cosmopolitanism and the Global Economy: Notes from China's Knowledge Factories

Chong, K; (2020) Cosmopolitanism and the Global Economy: Notes from China's Knowledge Factories. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute , 26 (4) pp. 805-823. 10.1111/1467-9655.13417. Green open access

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Abstract

In Dalian Software Park, China's centre for IT‐enabled outsourcing and offshore services, knowledge workers find themselves on the ‘assembly line’ of information processing, carrying out highly routinized, de‐skilled, and poorly paid work for which they are vastly overqualified. Following the recent attention to culture and personhood in studies of global capitalism, I argue that these knowledge workers are motivated by two forms of cosmopolitanism: corporate cosmopolitanism, the capacity to reconcile the supra‐territorial values of ‘global’ corporate culture with local values; and nationalist cosmopolitanism, whereby individual workers see the performance of cultural openness as a way of contributing to China's national project of modernization. As well as providing a rare account of cosmopolitanism in the workplace, this article demonstrates the significance of cosmopolitanism for the global economy. The pursuit of cosmopolitanism creates a productive friction between individual projects of self‐making, corporate projects of disciplining labour, as well as national projects of pursuing modernity and development.

Type: Article
Title: Cosmopolitanism and the Global Economy: Notes from China's Knowledge Factories
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9655.13417
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.13417 Findit@UCL
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10093114
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