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A Virtual America: Americans and 'American' Spaces in New Shanghai
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Communication, Media and Communication Studies.
2010 (English)In: American Studies in Scandinavia, ISSN 0044-8060, Vol. 42, no 1, 81-108 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Expatriate spaces on the outskirts of New Shanghai constitute a new transnational social space inhabited by many different nationalities. Yet these areas are often understood as 'American' spaces, filled with virtualities of everyday Americana, and with franchises to cater to the transnational elites such as KFC, Diner's, Papa John's Pizza, etc. What meanings does the old 'New World' retain in the context of this hyper-modernizing Chinese megacity, with ambitions to become a world center? And how do Americans negotiate and appropriate these spaces? This article is based on three stints of fieldwork among Americans in Shanghai in 2007 and 2009, with a particular focus on white, female, corporate transfer expatriates living on Forest Manor, Rancho Santa Fe and the Racquet Club. Pitting these spaces against some of the most important theorizations of the virtual bearing on them, I propose that in order to analyze the human face of global mobility we need to move beyond postmodern notions of the simulacrum where people are stripped of agency. Through the voices of those who reside on 'Disneyland' I stress the sense of lived virtuality on the compounds, inclusive not only of the rhythms of the everyday in these virtual spaces, but also of the possible getaway from them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 42, no 1, 81-108 p.
National Category
Humanities Ethnology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-13713ISI: 000284295200006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-78649839458OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-13713DiVA: diva2:462173
Available from: 2011-12-06 Created: 2011-12-06 Last updated: 2015-01-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf