A groundbreaking, alternate history of information technology and information discourses
Although the scale of the information economy and the impact of digital media on social life in China today could pale that of any other country, the story of their emergence in the post-Mao sociopolitical environment remains untold. Information Fantasies offers a revisionist account of the emergence of the “information society,” arguing that it was not determined by the technology of digitization alone but developed out of a set of techno-cultural imaginations and practices that arrived alongside postsocialism.
Anticipating discussions on information surveillance, data collection, and precarious labor conditions today, Xiao Liu goes far beyond the current scholarship on internet and digital culture in China, questioning the limits of current new-media theory and history, while also salvaging postsocialism from the persistent Cold War structure of knowledge production.
Ranging over forgotten science fiction, unjustly neglected films, corporeal practices such as qigong, scientific journals, advertising, and cybernetic theories, Information Fantasies constructs an alternate genealogy of digital and information imaginaries—one that will change how we look at the development of the postsocialist world and the emergence of digital technologies.
Xiao Liu is assistant professor of East Asian studies at McGill University.