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Is the internet the game changer? Disabled people and digital work in China

Qu, Yuanyuan (2020) Is the internet the game changer? Disabled people and digital work in China. Disability and Society. ISSN 0968-7599

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Identification Number: 10.1080/09687599.2020.1833314


The marginalisation of disabled people in paid employment has been a longstanding issue. This article examines whether the recent proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can change the employment challenges for disabled people. It focuses on China, where digitalisation has happened almost simultaneously with industrialisation, and where a special disability employment trajectory is developing. Based on an exploratory study of the economic activities of Chinese disabled people, the article presents three types of digital work, in which physical labour, social relations and ICTs-related knowledge are commodified. These types of work are in general loosely organised, self-managed and unprotected. They have both empowering and debilitating effects. The article thus argues that the personal use of the Internet is just an entry point to disability employment, and it will be more effective if combined with policy interventions and broader structural changes.Points of interest People with impairments often face employment difficulties and some believe technological developments, such as the internet, can provide a solution to this. In China, people with physical impairments are working on the internet to earn money. Their work forms include levelling up online games for other players, opening online shops and developing ICTs products, such as software. Working online gives disabled people a chance to get paid and develop a better feeling about self. This however has significant limitations. Policy and social support should be provided to promote online employment for disabled people.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2020 16:48
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2024 06:27

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