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Accepted Paper:

The short term economy of counterfeiting  
Maitrayee Deka (University of Essex)

Paper short abstract:

The Chinese Shanzhai copies, a node of 'globalization of below' connects much of the world's population to cheap consumer goods. This essay argues that Shanzhai copy culture is of a 'use and throw' nature and relies on disruptive innovation that goes hand in hand with conditions of precarity.

Paper long abstract:

While big brands value quality, and authenticity, the Shanzhai copy culture is all about flooding markets with easily replaceable copies. This culture is not just present in the place of origin but also where these goods are widely distributed. Silvia Lindtner observes in her fieldwork among Shanzhai design houses in Shenzhen, the product development process is oriented to fast runs. New phones for instance, are introduced as modifications to existing platforms, and, if successful, they are introduced to the market in greater numbers, only to be abandoned in three to six months as demand has been exploited. The same practice occurs in electronic bazaars in Delhi where Shanzhai phones and video games are substituted regularly. The abundance of cheap copies in 'lower-end markets' is a way to encounter everyday precarity of dwindling profits, and constricted spaces for the informal economy. The economy of counterfeiting responds to the short-term possibilities that the market offers, to conclude a deal, to exploit a change in demand,to reflect a general cultural trend or icon.

Panel P067
Brands as sites of collaborative over-production
  Session 1