«We are new farmers selling products from rural area»: the labor process to perform authenticity of live e-commerce sellers in China

Journal title SOCIOLOGIA DELLA COMUNICAZIONE
Author/s Shichang Duan
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/65 Language English
Pages 20 P. 49-68 File size 295 KB
DOI 10.3280/SC2023-065004
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This article examines the labor process to perform authenticity of live e-commerce sellers, so-called “new farmers”, as entrepreneurial subjects, in rural China. The author conducted fieldwork in three live e-commerce teams for one year. Drawing on these data, this article elaborates the exploitative aspect of plat-form labor by describing the tension between mobilization narratives and the labor experience to perform authenticity. These mobilization narratives include interre-lated discourse praising performing authenticity of new farmers, including the ad-vantage of visualization technology, making the marginalized visible, and em-powerment for entrepreneurial individuals. However, these myth obscures the physical labor, gatekeeping process, and necessary capital to construct authentici-ty online. The author concludes by arguing the platform economy demands hybrid labor regime and enhances, instead of improving the social status of marginalized rural subjects.

Keywords: platformization, platform economy, authenticity, labor, e-commerce, live streaming.

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Shichang Duan, «We are new farmers selling products from rural area»: the labor process to perform authenticity of live e-commerce sellers in China in "SOCIOLOGIA DELLA COMUNICAZIONE " 65/2023, pp 49-68, DOI: 10.3280/SC2023-065004