- Time: 18:00-19:30
- Date: Monday, 14 March 2022
- Venue: HS436 (For any enquiries, please contact COM@xjtlu.edu.cn)
Writing online fiction is one of the popular cultural participations on digital platforms, as well as a job, for youths in China. Various studies of creative labour on platforms have suggested the veil of creativity online has given young passionate users a sense of freedom and independence from control, but that “creative workers” on platforms are low paid, working under long hours and equally exploited under a capitalist logic. Based on a survey and interviews with these online workers in China, this talk argues that fiction labour online—rather than challenge—tag on the cultural logic of these capitalist-manipulated platforms. It is true that most of the writers are not too well monetarily rewarded, and that they have to work on lengthy hours in exchange for reward. However, they do find satisfaction beyond the writing in that they are able to lead a different lifestyle or a condition of work that go beyond the structured time, space and relationship with others. Different from online celebrities in other digital platforms for live streaming and short video in which interaction between fans and celebrities is a perquisite for the cultural economy, online writers are contractually bound to the commercial platform to form a micro-individualised cultural economy. The creativity for the writers is not so much about freely expressing their personal view with imaginations and utopia—which is too exaggerated and over-interpreted—but is about creating a meaningful life for writers themselves.
Anthony Y.H. Fung is Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and in the School of Art and Communication at Beijing Normal University. His research interests and teaching focus on popular culture and cultural studies, popular music, gender and youth identity, cultural industries and policy, and digital media studies. He published widely in international journals, and authored and edited more than 20 Chinese and English books, including Youth Cultures in China (Polity 2016, with J. de Kloet), Global Game Industries and Cultural Policy (Palgrave 2016), Hong Kong Game Industry, Cultural Policy and East Asian Rivalry (Rowman & Littlefield 2018), and Made in Hong Kong: Studies in Popular Music (Routledge 2020).