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Title: Industrialising China, escaping labour : economic development and the agency of migrant labour in Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu province
Author: Zhang, Shuwan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 1284
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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This dissertation focuses on an analysis of the relationship between migrant workers' agencies and development in China, looking through the lens of the autonomy of migration. It analyses how the escape of migrant workers from the containment system and the insubordination of migrant workers to capital relation drive social transformation in China. As varying preconditions of development lead different regions down different pathways, this dissertation focuses on the three most economically advanced provinces in coastal China - Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu - to reveal the relationship between migrant workers and development in different contexts. Theoretically, it challenges the current explanations of Chinese internal migration. It offers a new perspective from which to view the struggles and resistances of migrant workers as a dynamic process which constantly puts pressure on the existing control regime. Historically, capital always attempts to capture moving labour and subordinate it in capital relation. However, labour always attempts to escape. It is this energy of escape that is the target of the control regime. This dissertation provides concrete empirical evidence to trace the interaction of migrant workers' agencies with the development of different regions. Different historical preconditions lead to different pathways of capitalist development, which are related to the different strategies of subordination of migrant workers to capital in China. Also, although migrant workers are always involved in escaping from the existing control regime, they behave differently according to the differences in the control regime and subordination strategy. It offers a suggestion of future trends in the insubordination of migrant workers in China: along with the spread of neoliberalism and the integration with the global market, increasing numbers of people are dragged into capital relation, and the subordination of labour to capital is deepening. The global division of labour is also spreading to inland China. Although, initially, development strategies differ from region to region, there is a tendency for them to converge.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral