As I walk the streets and roam the web of China, I share snapshots from my fieldwork on Bytes of China. My list of longer thought pieces can be found on my Writing Page

I am currently living in China, following students and migrants as they process information and desire, remaking cities and rural areas. I investigate media and memes in their collisions with markets, governments, and local thugs.   [More about Bytes of China.]

Here's a video of the most recent talk I gave about my research at LIFT in Geneva, Switzerland, "Dancing with Handcuffs: The Geography of Trust in Social Networks". In this talk, I analyze the changing conceptions of trust through the story of a college student who threw shoes and eggs at the government official who oversees internet censorship in China. 

Read more about my research. My analysis of culture and technology can be found on Cultural Bytes. And my personal blog is Hi Tricia.

The views expressed on this blog do not in any way reflect the position of any of my funders, past employers, the Chinese government, the US government or the Fulbright program. 


My research is generously funded though a mix of university grant programs, state initiatives, or industry research.

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It's the ethernet cable I care about, not lebron james

Fieldwork: What do you see: Lebron james poster or Ethernet cable?

Setting: low-income slum neighborhood, participant just moved into her first floor one-room apartment for herself (most people live 3-5 per room), there is a tiny bathroom inside her room, costs 400RMB/month ($62)

She takes me to her apartment for the first time. 

Me: oh wow, you have a Lebron James poster hung up?

Participant: Yea.

Me: do you like basketball?

Participant: No, it was already here when I moved in.

Me: oh wow, that's pretty generous of the previous renter to leave it here.

Participant: it is more generous that the person left a working ethernet cable.

Me: what do you mean? The cable isn't included in the rent?

Participant: it should be included, but sometimes people cut a piece of it off when they move. But this person left the cable and the poster! I'm sure some basketball fan would be happy to see Lebron, but it doesn't matter to me. I guess I could sell it for a couple of bucks, but that's not worth my time. 

For 60yuan/month ($10), she could get online and pay 20RMB/month ($3). for a US IP address. She does not reply on internet cafes because she now has her own laptop, given to her by a lover who had much more money than her. She now can experience what she calls the "pure pleasure of private browsing." 


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