Our Visiting Fellow from China over the past year, Dr Jingwei Cheng, has left to return to her position as an Associate Professor in the School of Economics and Management, Communication University of China, where she is the Vice Director of the School. With a doctorate in media economics, Jingwei Cheng has been studying the theory and regulation underpinning the media industry in China, such as through focusing on the impact of regulation on the diversity of programming on television in China. In addition to work on broadcasting, she has done research on China’s cable industry and mobile communication. Professor Cheng Jingwei was supported at the Quello Center through a State Scholarship Fund supported by the China Scholarship Council. One of many valuable commentaries before her departure, Jingwei Chen remarked on the serious levels of poverty she saw in the US, and wondered why so little attention is provided to this issue by the media, in comparison to Tweets and other issues surrounding the President, Donald Trump.
Professor Muzammil Hussain visited the Quello Center and gave an informative talk based on his new multi-year project on ‘Bio-Social Data Innovation & Governance in Asia’ (Big-DIG). The Big-DIG project seeks to use qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to understand how IT infrastructure and big data mining strategies (e.g., bio-metrics and social credit systems, in India and China, respectively) are being developed and applied as governance and management tools by over 22 Asian countries with respect to their citizens. You can view his talk here.
Professor Hussain’s talk provided a valuable perspective on how big data approaches are fulfilling some of the functions of the longterm state dream of identification cards and national databases about citizens. These developments are quite different from the more positive visions of mining big data for social and economic development. It is certainly valuable that Muzammil’s research is putting the state role of big data in a new light, and to the attention of more development researchers.