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This chapter uses Liu Zhenyun’s 2007 novel Wo jiao Liu Zhenyun [I Am Liu Yuejin] to reflect on shifting understandings of society and identity in contemporary China. The novel follows a migrant worker in contemporary Beijing, who finds himself caught up in a complicated set of overlapping scams that involve an array of other migrant workers, as well as some of the city’s sociopolitical elite. I argue that the work’s migrant workers shuttle back and forth not only between different geographical locations, but also between different sociopolitical conceptions of individual identity. Drawing on psychoanalytic theories of trauma, economic...

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