China’s capitalist transformation offers us a non-Western perspective to understand the contradictions of transnational capital mobility, the working people’s lives, and the changing role of the state. This economic and social transformation continues to require the acceleration of a specific proletarianization—successive generations of rural migrant workers (nongmingong) have become the mainstay of the country’s export-processing sector, but they cannot become “free” laborers in the market. Within the dormitory labor regime, in which work and residence are tightly interconnected, workers turn the workplace and dormitory spaces into a battlefield to fight for their rights. Foxconn’s cost-efficient use of dormitory labor ensures that its more than one million workers spend their off-hours just preparing for another round of production. Paradoxically, workers are claiming the limited living space and time to create and remix culturally diversified repertoires in struggles. Class analysis, as a weapon of progressive social change, has to be recast in the lived experience of the working class, in relation to party-state rhetoric.
Research Article|January 01 2013
The Spatial Politics of Labor in China: Life, Labor, and a New Generation of Migrant Workers
South Atlantic Quarterly (2013) 112 (1): 179-190.
Ngai Pun, Jenny Chan; The Spatial Politics of Labor in China: Life, Labor, and a New Generation of Migrant Workers. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2013; 112 (1): 179–190. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-1891332
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