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CPCH Webinar Series 

Date: 25 October 2021 (Monday)

Time: 15:30 - 17:00

Title: Gamification of Economy: The Aesthetic Labour and Emotional Labour in Making Taobao a Theme Park Spectacle

Speakers: Dr. Ling Tang

Format: Zoom 


In contrast to the “rational” Amazon which demonstrates an intensification of McDonaldization of the economy in the digital economic realm (Ritzer, 2018), this talk discloses how Taobao crafts itself into an emotion-fuelled theme-park for online shopping. Taobao wishes to establish itself as a platform full of adventurous products and unexpected encounters. Based on my one-year ethnography with businesswomen in the Internet age, many of whom Taobao shop owners, I show how they need to do an extensive amount of aesthetic labour and emotional labour in order to make the shopping experience more fun and entertaining for customers. This echoes Byung-Chul Han (2017)’s notion of the gamification of the economy where production and consumption are made into games of instant rewards and punishment.


Ling is an artist academic who considers sociology as art and vice versa. Her research interests includes Internet studies, Gender studies, Chinese studies and innovative methods. Her academic writings are published in journals including Journal of Sociology and British Journal of Chinese Studies. Besides, she also produces music, fine art pieces and public academic cultural products.

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