China’s Labor in Global Services and Transnational Production

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:30-10:20
RC44 Labor Movements (host committee)

Language: English

The session examines China’s labor challenges in the global market economy. Local states have quickly responded to high-profile worker protests, while acting flexibly to retain their power to adjudicate grievances. “Bargained authoritarianism” could sometimes serve the interests of workers through a compromise between government negotiators and protestors, but the unequal power between workers and management remained skewed in favor of management.

Potential topics might include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Student interns are facing multiple inequalities in disguised internships. How to compare different forms of student internships across sectors? What are the roles of vocational schools, enterprises, labor agencies, local governments, and NGOs in regulating the emergent student labor regime?
  • Dispatch workers are widely employed in state and non-state enterprises. How to understand the effects of labor subcontracting on mobilization and solidarity among workers?
  • “Digital labor” is increasingly engaged in local and global services development. How to map the contested terrains in the apps economy dominated by BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent), among others?
  • Chinese workers’ involvement in transnational manufacturing has reshaped the global economy.  How to deepen our understanding on the changing labor relations in China and the world?
  • How to (re)conceptualize the theories and methodologies of global labor studies?
  • How does the social relation of production in China link to the global production chain? Would it be a form of comparative study or a liner research or both?
Session Organizers:
Jenny CHAN, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong and Chun-Yi LEE, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Chun-Yi LEE, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Oral Presentations
Who to Decide ‘Good Job' or ‘Bad Job'? a Bargaining Game of Production: Case Study from Pearl River Delta
Chun-Yi LEE, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom; Jing WANG, School of Sociology, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Distributed Papers
Labor and Domination: Worker Control in a Chinese Factory
Kaxton SIU, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
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