Title page for ETD etd-02222012-213650

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Qiu, Xiaolan
URN etd-02222012-213650
Title Volkswagen Cars, Politics, and Culture in the Post-1978 China: The Social Construction of Success
Degree PhD
Department Science and Technology Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Luke, Timothy W. Committee Chair
Breslau, Daniel Committee Member
Fuhrman, Ellsworth R. Committee Member
Halfon, Saul E. Committee Member
  • China
  • sociology of technology
  • technology policy
  • Shanghai-Volkswagen
  • Volkswagen
Date of Defense 2012-02-13
Availability unrestricted
Volkswagen (VW) is one of the first foreign carmakers that made direct investments in China after 1978. From its entry in the Chinese market to the year of 2009, VW enjoyed popularity, high reputation, and undisputed leadership in the Chinese passenger car market, and achieved a great commercial success. Most previous accounts attribute VW’s success in China to VW’s wise business operation or Chinese government’s support. This study guided by the methods and theories of technology studies, especially the actor-network theory (ANT), takes into account technical, socioeconomic, political, or cultural factors simultaneously. By selecting one of VW’s successful joint ventures with China – Shanghai Volkswagen (SVW) – as a case to do in-depth investigation, it examines the relationship between heterogeneous actors (both humans and nonhumans) and the pathways of SVW development, and has found that all of the SVW establishment, production, marketing, and development were shaped by a range of diverse social and material actors, including the central planners, local government, VW, local suppliers, Chinese consumers, and VW cars, and depended on Chinese particular political and cultural context; VW’s success in China presents a story of co-construction of power and actor-networks.
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