Future Lost and Resumed: Media and the Spatialization of Time in Shanghai

Amanda Lagerkvist
Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMK), Stockholm University, Sweden

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Ingår i: The ESF-LiU Conference Cities and Media: Cultural Perspectives on Urban Identities in a Mediatized World Vadstena; Sweden; 25-29 October; 2

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 20:9, s. 93–110

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Publicerad: 2007-03-06


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The current resurgence of the Chinese mega city of Shanghai involves a radical restructuring of the urban fabric; infrastructure; economy and media culture. New Shanghai competes to become the information communication hub in the Asia-Pacific; and partly through the display of wide-ranging digitalization at the World exposition of 2010 and in the city; the municipal government has set its mind on once again detaining the future right here. In this paper I probe the question of how one place becomes continually endowed with futurity. Futurity; I argue; is in fact an essential part of a collective memory in the city: it is Shanghai’s genius loci. Moving from the Golden Age of modernity and cosmopolitanism of the 1920s and 30s; through the city under Communism; into the current global/digital city of Shanghai I inquire into they ways in which media and communication have been historically; and are at present; a backbone of the Shanghai imaginary. I further discuss how the future is both obsessively desired in Shanghai of today and at once under seizure since New Shanghai is; as much as it is a place of physical monumentality; an elusive and contradictory space of temporal co-existence as well as of hypermobility and hypermediation.


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