Darcy Pan - Research
Project title: Zone of Dreams? Big data, Infrastructure and Labor in Southwest China
This anthropological research project sets out to explore the social life of big data in China by investigating the economic and cultural processes that facilitate the production and use of big data as well as the political, social and environmental consequences of these processes. Viewing big data both as a concept and a socio-technical phenomenon, this project engages in an ethnographic study of China’s first national pilot zone for big data industry: Guizhou Big Data Comprehensive Pilot Zone in Southwest China. Guizhou aims to become China’s digital capital. With the big data pilot zone, Guizhou aims to reinvigorate its economy and put its provincial capital Guiyang at the forefront of the development of ICTs in China. This study aims to theorize and interrogate the work that is being done by the concept of big data so as to understand how visions of technology and contemporary data are incorporated into the imagining of life and modernity as well as the production of truths and value that contains the social world. This project hopes to develop a conceptual framework to analyze and understand the ramifications of China’s further integration with the global informational capitalism and how the cultural production of technology and new forms of capitalist value generation converge, interact and transform relationships of social and territorial reproduction.