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Ageing with Smartphones in Urban China

From the Cultural to the Digital Revolution in Shanghai

An anthropological account of the experience of aging in the smartphone era in China.

The current oldest generation in Shanghai was born at a time when the average household could not afford electric lights, but today they can turn their lights off using smartphone apps. Grounded in extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Shanghai, Ageing with Smartphones in Urban China tackles the intersection between the “two revolutions” experienced by the older generation in Shanghai: the contemporary smartphone-based digital revolution and the earlier communist revolutions and argues that we can only understand the smartphone revolution if we first appreciate the long-term consequences of these people’s experiences during the communist revolutions. Supported by detailed ethnographic material, the observations and analysis here provide a panorama view of the social landscape of contemporary China, addressing such topics the digital and everyday life, aging and healthcare, intergenerational relations and family development, community building and grassroots organizations, collective memories, and political attitudes among ordinary Chinese people.

300 pages | 73 color plates | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

Ageing with Smartphones

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Culture Studies

Media Studies

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Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables
List of charts
Series Foreword

1 Introduction
2 Ageing and retirement: ruptures and continuity
3 Everyday life: Daily activities and the digital routine
4 Social relations: the guanxi practice beyond family ties
5 Crafting the smartphone
6 Crafting health: the moral body and the therapeutic smartphone
7 ‘Doing personhood’ in revolution(s)
8 Life purpose: searching for meaning in revolutions and reforms
9 Conclusion

Appendix 1: The brief function of top 24 Apps on the Top 10 list and App analysis method
Appendix 2: The super app WeChat


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