Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication


Journalism and Mass Communication

First Advisor

Michael Dahlstrom

Second Advisor

Robert Mazur


Despite the rapid expansion of mobile phone technologies in agricultural development contexts, little work has explored how this adoption intersects with contextualized social systems. Rural China, in particular, represents a large population of agricultural workers who are adopting mobile phone technology but have so far remained overlooked as a focus of these studies. This study addresses these gaps by conducting an in-depth qualitative study of the complex relationships between rural horticulture farmers, their buyers and government officials in China and how each has integrated mobile phone technology into their social system. The results find that while all groups have benefited from the incorporation of mobile phones, some groups enjoy more advantages than others. At the same time, the larger amount of land and the more integrated the communication technology, the more advantage the farmer enjoys in the market. Expanding these social linkages, buyers are eager for more communication through mobile phones than most of the farmers currently provide and government officials are trying to use mobile phones to promote the local agriculture development. Additionally, these farmers work within a unique social system called guanxi where reciprocal favors define the sociological structure. For most of the farmers, the introduction of mobile phones has not reduced their reliance on guanxi, although the farmers that control the largest land area are using mobile phones in ways that lessen its influence.


Copyright Owner

Lijing Gao



File Format


File Size

70 pages