Navigating the Economy of Ambivalent Intimacy: Gender and Relational Labour in China’s Livestreaming Industry

All Abstracts > Navigating the Economy of Ambivalent Intimacy: Gender and Relational Labour in China’s Livestreaming Industry

Navigating the Economy of Ambivalent Intimacy: Gender and Relational Labour in China’s Livestreaming Industry

Authors | Affiliation:
Zhen Ye | Erasmus University Rotterdam; Chenyu Dong | Renmin University of China

Presenting at:
1A | Platformization and Digital Labour in China 


Abstract:

By examining female streamers’ everyday interactions with their viewers and their experiences as the showroom livestreamers (xiuchang zhubo) in China’s livestreaming industry, this article adopts — but also re-examines — the premises of relational labour in order to examine the gendered power relations involved in the showroom livestreaming sector. Based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with female livestreamers, we argue that showroom livestreaming work is contingent on relational labour and constitutes a precarious balancing act. One the one hand, female streamers are positioned as neoliberal aspirational entrepreneurs in a gendered economy, searching to monetize their production of sexually ambivalent intimacy. On the other hand, through constant negotiation, they try to maintain the correct degree of intimacy in order to avoid violating both platform regulations and the social moral standard. Therefore, the implicitly erotic and intimate performances undertaken by female streamers are the result of negotiating livestreaming platforms’ technological and economic affordances, the male viewers’ needs for intimate personal interactions, and their own subjectivities. We claim that the female streamers’ ongoing interactions with their male viewers articulate an economy of ambivalent intimacy as established by China’s livestreaming industry


About the authors

Zhen Ye

Email: ye@eshcc.eur.nl

Chenyu Dong

Email: –

%d bloggers like this: