Shanzhai-ed Didi and the “New Chinatown”: WeChat-based ride-hailing among Chinese international students in Metro Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-12
Identifier: 
etd20582
Keywords: 
WeChat
Chinese international student
Ride-hailing
Assemblage
Chinatown
Multi-sited ethnography
Abstract: 

This thesis examines the role WeChat plays in the life experience of Chinese international students in Metro Vancouver, Canada, focusing on the use and development of ride-hailing platforms from July to November 2018. By following WeChat-based underground ride-hailing using multi-sited ethnography (Marcus, 1995) and interviewing students working as drivers and using these services, this thesis conceptualize WeChat as an assemblage (Slack, 2012) that combines infrastructures, networks, ideas and spaces, rather than another imported social media application hindering their acculturation. This thesis examines students’ economic and social practices in replicating a digitally-connected “Chinese” lifestyle in Canada through “shanzhai-ed” platforms on WeChat, which are shaped and restricted by local media discourses and regulations, including BC’s long-existing yellow peril discourse (Deer, 2006). Examining ride-hailing as part of the assemblage, this thesis showcases the entanglement of these students’ lives with technologies, social networks, labour and spaces in the local negative discursive and regulatory environment.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Kirsten McAllister
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Statistics: