S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소) Development and Society Development and Society Vol.34 No.1/2 (2005)
The Making of the Post-Proletariat in China
- Won, Jae Youn
- Issue Date
- Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
- Development and Society, Vol.34 No.2, pp. 191-215
- This paper deals with the question of how unemployed workers in China responded to the imposition of new employment practices, xiagang, which threatened their livelihoods and most of all, their status as workers. The actions of unemployed workers are not one-sided or simplistic —they are diverse, both active and passive, conservative and progressive, violent and nonviolent, and aggressive and defensive at the same time. Based on my fieldwork in Northeast China, I discover two types of actions. Unemployed workers engage in the political action of 1) challengers: who embrace the political notion of rule of law,and act to defend their entitlement, 2) evaders: who are non-compliant to the new state policy, but engage in the spontaneous, individualized activity of subsistence survival in everyday life. These actions are not mutually exclusive, but rather situational, contingent upon both the socio-economic context and unemployed workersinterpretation of the situation.
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