Migrant Labor and Development in Comparative Perspective: Lessons from the Chinese Case

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:45-12:15
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
RC44 Labor Movements (host committee)
RC02 Economy and Society

Language: English

Migrant labor has constituted an integral part of capitalist development across place and time. Today, there are an estimated 232 million international migrant workers around the world (ILO). China alone has over 260 million internal rural migrant workers, who have been the backbone of the country’s economic boom over the past 25 years, but are marginalized and discriminated against under the household registration system. 
Labor and development scholars have argued that a migrant labor system, which is characterized by physical separation of labor renewal and maintenance, externalizes and subsidizes the costs of labor reproduction for capital and states, thereby allowing capitalists to pay low wages to migrant labor. Migrant workers also suffer poor working and living conditions and are at risk of extreme exploitation because they often lack legal protection, support networks and information about the working and living conditions at their destination. For these and other reasons, migrant labor presents complex challenges to governance and social and economic development in both origin and destination regions. 
This section invites papers that explore the dynamics and complex linkages between migrant labor and development in various parts of the world. We are particularly interested in submissions that bring comparative perspective to China’s migrant labor to bear on the following topics: 

  • diverse migrant labor regimes; 
  • migrant workers’ rights and protection; 
  • gender; race/ethnicity; 
  • labor markets; 
  • rural-urban connections; 
  • land and livelihood struggles; 
  • social movements/collective action; 
  • and the impacts of migrant labor on economic and social change in both origin and destination regions.
Session Organizers:
Lu ZHANG, Temple University, USA, Sarah SWIDER, Wayne State University, USA and Elena SHIH, Brown University, USA
Lu ZHANG, Temple University, USA
Ethnic Network and Labor Brokerage in the Temporary Employment System in Contemporary China
Xinrong MA, Institute of Area Study Leiden University, Netherlands
Labour Surplus Economy Under Transitions
Cheng LI, University of Campinas, Brazil
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