Journal Article

Communicating the Rhythms of Retromodernity: Confused and Mixed Shanghai

Publication

Abstract

Visitors on sight-seeing tours in contemporary globalizing Shanghai observe the futuristic ambitions, exponential development and chaotic polyrhythmicity of New Shanghai. The nostalgia industry simultaneously ‘teleports’ the tourists on tours back to a time when Shanghai was a legendary world metropolis; the Golden Age of the inter-war era. Inspired by Henri Lefebvre's critical rhythmanalysis, and by Jonathan Sterne's conceptualization of communication as organized movement and action, this paper explores bus tours by commission of the municipal government. Shanghai is the place where the movements of the buses, as well as the tourists on board, become part of communicating the place identity and multiple rhythms of the city. The buses are conceived as means of communication, in a twofold sense, and as both underscoring and binding together the many incommensurabilities of place: old and new, Western and Chinese, industrialism and post-industrialism, nationalism and globalism. The author argues that mobility, media modernity and a confounding mixture (reflexively manifested on the tour ‘Confused and Mixed Shanghai’) constitute a collective memory of the city, and that the buses in all their seeming banality, communicate Shanghai's particular rhythms of retromodernity.

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Details

  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    The Sociological Review, Vol 61, Issue 1.
  • Pages:
    144-161
  • Published:
    2013
  • Language:
    English
  • DOI:

About the Author

Amanda Lagerkvist

Amanda Lagerkvist is an Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies and Wallenberg Academy Fellow in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University. . With a PhD from Stockholm University in 2005, she had a two-year postdoc the... Read more

Reference

Lagerkvist, A. (2013). Communicating the Rhythms of Retromodernity: Confused and Mixed Shanghai. The Sociological Review, 61(1), pp. 144-161. doi: 10.1111/1467-954X.12058.