in Rural China
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


Dramatic demonstrations to ask for back wages, especially among construction workers, have attracted much attention. This paper is intended to explore the mechanism behind these demonstrations. Government and capital have reached a kind of tacit agreement centering on informal economic practices. In the opposition between capital and migrant workers, the lack of unified labor action places the latter at a disadvantage when bargaining with the former. The informal economy and its practices have encouraged capital to delay the payment of wages and have rendered the state’s labor laws largely ineffective, leaving migrant workers little choice but to go outside the law to protest. Multilayered subcontracting in the construction industry has aggravated delays in the payment of wages and has made it more difficult for workers to obtain payment. The subsistence pressures faced by the workers in their growing proletarianization have driven them to demand payment. The state’s insistence on stability, capital’s preoccupation with “rational” profit-seeking, and the elitism that currently dominates popular culture have together shaped the form of the dramatic demonstrations. To solve this problem at its root, workers’ self-organizing to change their disadvantaged status might offer a way out—something the government should encourage and support in order to maintain social stability.

This article is in English.



in Rural China



BourdieuPierreWacquantLoic J.d. An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology 1992 London Polity Press

BurawoyMichealWrightErik Olin Sociological Marxism 2000 http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/%7Ewright/SocMarx.pdf

Caijing zonghe baodao《财经》综合报道 “社科院报告指中国失地农民已达4000万-5000 万” Report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences claims that China’s landless peasants has reached 40-50 million 2011 http://www.caijing.com.cn/2011-08-09/110804337.html

DengXiaoping邓小平 “邓小平文选第三卷” Selections from Deng Xiaoping Vol. 3 1993 北京 人民出版社

DongJun董峻 “全国 26% 承包土地已流转,农业部要求不能搞强迫命令” 26 percent of the national contracted land is transferred and the Ministry of Agriculture opposes coe 2014 http://news.xinhuanet.com/house/dl/2014-02-24/c_119462198.htm

GaoHonggui高洪贵 “作为弱者的武器:农民工利益表达的底层方式及生成逻辑——以农民工‘创意讨薪’为分析对象” Weapons of the weak: migrant workers’ grassroot method of interest expressions and its forming logic exemplifying “creative wage claims” 中国青年研究 2013 2 60 64

HouJianxun侯建勋 “农民工郑州街头说快板讨薪,一首打油诗道民工难” Zhengzhou’s migrant workers demand wages using clapper talk and a limerick to tell of their hardships 2012 http://henan.163.com/12/0907/09/8APQI03002271RM.html

HuJintao胡锦涛 “在中国共产党第十八次全国代表大会上的报告” Report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the CCP 2012 北京 人民出版社

HuangPhilip黄宗智 “中国发展经验的理论与实用含义——非正规经济实践” Theoretical and practical implications of China’s development experience—informal economic practices 开放时代 2010 10 134 158

HuangPhilip黄宗智 Misleading Chinese Legal and Statistical Categories: Labor, Individual Entities, and Private Enterprises 2013 Modern China 1 33

LiDajun李大君 “虚高的工资,虚空的工会——中国建筑工人工资待遇和工会组织状况调研报告” False high wages and hollow unions: report on Chinese construction workers’ wages and unionization 2013 http://www.ilabor.org/Item/Show.asp?m=1&d=2620

LuXueyi陆学艺 “当代中国社会阶层研究报告” Summary Report on Contemporary China’s Social Strata 2002 北京 社会科学文献出版社

MarxKarl马克思 “资本论” Das Kapital 2004 中央编译局译. 北京 人民出版社

MengJie孟捷JianGong龚剑YuewenXiang向悦文 “马克思主义竞争理论的发展研究” A study of the development of Marxist competition theory 经济学家 2012 10 5 12

MengJie孟捷YileLi李怡乐 “改革以来劳动力商品化和雇佣关系的发展——波兰尼和马克思的视角” The commodification of labor and the development of employment relations since Reform—from Marx and Polanyi’s perspective 开放时代 2013 5 74 106

MoXiaosong莫小松 “维稳力量渗透基层每个角落” Stability maintenance work has percolated throughout the grassroots 2009 http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/bm/content/2009-12/24/content_2009982.htm?node=6

NieZaozao聂早早 “当前农民工被欠薪及讨薪问题的调查分析——以皖籍农 民工为例” A study on migrant workers’ wage arrears and wage demands—exemplifying migrant workers from Anhui Province 法制与社会 2008 14 203 204

PunNgai潘毅LuHuilin卢晖临ZhangHuipeng张慧鹏 “大工地:建筑业农民工的生存图景” The great construction site: the general subsistence condition of migrant workers in the construction industry 2012 北京 北京大学出版社

PunNgai潘毅LuHuilin卢晖临 “当代中国第二代农民工的身份认知、情感和集体行动” The new generation of migrant workers: self-identity cognition sentiment and collective actions unpublished

QiXin亓昕 “建筑业欠薪机制的形成与再生产分析” The formation and reproduction of wage back-payment mechanism in the Chinese construction industry 社会学研究 2011 5 55 79

ScottJames C. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance 1985 New Haven Yale University Press

ShenYuan沈原 “社会转型与工人阶级的再形成” The social transformation and reformation of the Chinese working class 社会学研究 2006 2 13 36

TongLihua佟丽华XiaoWeidong肖卫东 “中国农民工维权成本调查报告” Report on Costs of Chinese Migrant Workers’ Rights Defense 2005 http://www.zgjy.org/wjzl/wjzlshow.asp?MessageID=246

WangHui汪晖 “中国政治新趋势” The new trend in China’s politics 南风窗 2014 2 26 28

WangLungang王伦刚 “农民工的非正式利益抗争及其运行机制——基于‘太太讨薪队的故事’的分析” Migrant workers’ informal interest struggles and its mechanism—based on the case of “wife demanding back wages” 天府新论 2009 5 66 70

WangXi王希GaoJing高敬 “2013 年全国基尼系数为 0.473, 达到近十年最低” The Gini coefficient is 0.473 in 2013 the lowest in ten years 2014 http://www.js.xinhuanet.com/2014-01/20/c_119045665.htm

WangYing王莹 “举证难是农民工讨薪路上的一道坎” Lack of proof is a barrier in migrant workers’ wage demands 工人日报 2009 8 31 第 007 版

Xinzhongguo 60nian tongji ziliao huibian 新中国 60 年统计资料汇编 Compendium of materials for New China over sixty years 2010 北京 中国统计出版社

XuXin徐昕 “为权利而自杀——转型中国农民工的‘以死抗争’” Suicide for rights—migrant workers’ “suicidal struggles” in transitional China 中国制度变迁的案例研究 2008 00 255 305

XuZhiyong许志永 “‘跳楼’成了农民工最后的杀手锏?——从农民工讨薪难看中国式维权” Has “Suicide jump” become migrant workers’ Sunday punch?—Chinese rights defense in wage demands 人民论坛 2006 10 32

ZhangWei张威 “极端讨薪频频上演” Wage demands frequently go to extremes 柳州日报 2011 8 12 第 012 版

ZhangYanlong张延龙DuYuan杜远 “三星闪存芯片项目落地西安:总投资300 亿美元” Samsung builds its new flash chip factory in Xi’an with a total investment of 30 billion USDs 2012 http://tech.qq.com/a/20120414/000029.htm

ZhangYunhao张云昊 “增权:‘农民工讨薪’案例的分析及其启示” Empowerment: the implications from analyses of cases of migrant workers’ demands for wages 青年研究 2005 9 11 16

Zhongguo caizheng nianjian 中国财政年鉴 Finance Yearbook of China 2011 北京 中国财政杂志社

Zhongguo nongcun tongji nianjian 中国农村统计年鉴 China rural statistical yearbook 2013 北京 中国统计出版社

Zhongguo nongmingong diaocha jiance baogao 我国农民工调查监测报告 Oversight investigative report on migrant workers 2011 http://www.grain.gov.cn/Grain/ShowNews.aspx?newsid=32223http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/z fb/201405/t20140512_551585.html 2013

Zhongguo tongji nianjian 中国统计年鉴 China statistical yearbook 2013 北京 中国统计出版社

Zhonggong zhongyang guanyu jianli shehui zhuyi shichang jingji tizhi ruogan wenti de jueding 中共中央关于建立社会主义市场经济体制若干问题的决定 The Central Committee of the CCP’s decision on several issues in building the socialist market economic system 1993 北京 人民出版社 519 548 1996 “十四大以来重要文献选编”上.

Zhonggong zhongyang guanyu zhiding guomin jingji he shehui fazhan di shiyi ge wunian guihua de jianyi 中共中央关于制定国民经济和社会发展第十一个五年规划的建议 The 11th five-year plan for the national economy and social development made by the Central Committee of the CCP 2005 北京 中央文献出版社 1061 1085 2006 “十六大以来重要文献选编”中

ZhouBin周滨 “‘人民拥护不拥护’:一切标准中的根本标准——对邓小平历史检验标准思想的历史和逻辑分析” “Whether the masses support or not”: the fundamental criteria of all criteria—the historical and logical analysis of Deng Xiaoping’s thought on a criterion for testing truth 西安政治学院学报 2004 6 5 9

ZhuBingkun祝炳琨 “社科院统计 14 年间群体性事件:广东居首,劳资纠纷是主因” Mass disturbances in the past 14 years calculated by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences: Guangdong ranks at the top and labor disputes are the main cause 2014 http://www.guancha.cn/society/2014_02_25_208680.shtml


  • View in gallery
    The Share of Industrial Output Value and Urban Employment Contributed by State-Owned and Collective Enterprises, 1978-2012.
  • View in gallery
    The Proportion of Wage Income and Household Operating Income in Net Income for China’s Rural Households, 1990-2012.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 5 5 4
Full Text Views 5 5 5
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0