Journal Article

The Future is Here: Media, Memory and Futurity in Shanghai



Thriving on its long-term collective memory of possessing futurity, Shanghai resurges with large-scale ambitions of becoming the world center of trade and finance as well as the information and communication hub of the Asia-Pacific region with an Infoport advancing beyond the era of the Internet. This article ponders the relationship between memory and futurity in Shanghai, and suggests that in celebrating temporal coexistence, Shanghai offers the contours an alternate social ordering of retromodernity. In this media city, media forms constitute a backbone of the Shanghai imaginary, and the enthusiasm for new communication technologies in Shanghai today is reminiscent of the role that media forms played in modernizing Shanghai in the past. Probing how memories of mediafutures pastmaytrigger digitalization, the author argues that temporal anchoring in Shanghai does not represent a refusal to partake in the fast-paced world; instead, it pursues a memory of modernity and anchors in a “Bergsonian terrain” where mobility is, in effect, its “natural tradition.”

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  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Space & Culture, Vol 13, Issue 3.
  • Pages:
  • Published:
  • Language:
  • 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


Lagerkvist, A. (2010). The Future is Here: Media, Memory and Futurity in Shanghai. Space & Culture, 13(3), pp. 409-424. doi: 10.1177/1206331210365247.