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Author: Jenny Chan

Internships have become integral to the development of vocational education in China. This article looks into the quasi-employment arrangements of student interns, who occupy an ambiguous space between being a student and being a worker at the point of production. Some employers recruit interns on their own, while others secure a supply of student labor through coordinated support of provincial and lower-level governments that prioritize investments, as well as through subcontracting services of private labor agencies. The incorporation of teachers into corporate management can strengthen control over students during their internships. While interns are required to do the same work as other employees, their unpaid or underpaid working experiences testify that intern labor is devalued. Exposés of abuses, such as using child labor in the guise of interns, have pressured the Chinese state and companies to eventually take remedial action. Reclaiming student workers’ educational and labor rights in the growing intern economy, however, remains contested.

学生实习已经成为中国职业教育发展的重要组成部分。本文旨在探讨实习生面对的特殊雇佣关系,了解他们的工作处境,就是在劳动过程中占据了一个介于学生和工人之间的模糊位置。目前企业一般自行招募实习生,或通过地方政府和私人的中介机构进行大规模动员。校企合作之下,老师的介入加强了实习过程中对学生的劳动控制。当这些实习生被要求和其他工人一样工作时,他们的薪酬和福利待遇却往往低于一般工人,甚至是无酬的。近年来,以实习之名而使用童工为实的事件曝光以后,政府官员和剬司主管被迫采用了一些应对措施。然而,在快速发展的“实习经济”中,要实现实习劳工的基本教育和劳动权利仍是困难重重。 (This article is in English.)

In: Rural China
Author: Ellen R. Judd

China’s expanding workforce of rural–urban migrants is increasingly involved in care work while simultaneously facing issues of care within its own ranks for its family members. The work examined here concerns care—for the elderly and ill, for children, and in everyday domestic labor. This form of work is widely performed predominantly by migrant women in (usually) urban households in circumstances lacking labor protections. They are performing work that creates value and that constitutes a key service sector of the informal economy. Much the same population provides similar care work for family members of their own (usually) in the countryside, work that also creates value but is normally unremunerated. Rural migrant and potential migrant women may be in complex social positions where their work is needed in both circumstances, and are in both circumstances providing value for their families—through income earned and through work of direct use value. The work in both instances is socially structured through being in or outside the informal economy and in or outside ties of kinship. This article argues for an expanded and adequately gendered concept of the informal economy based on value and Maussian concepts of human economy.

中国日益增加着由乡村进入城市的大量投入到保姆工作中的劳动力,与其同时也面临着她们对其自身家庭成员的照料问题。本文关切的是家庭护理问题,这里指的是对老人,病患,孩子的照料,以及日常家务劳动。这种工作主要是由农村妇女来到通常是城市的家庭中,在缺少正规劳动保护的环境中工作。她们劳动创造的价值构成了非正规经济服务职能中的一个核心部分。这群打工族大多来自农村,并在其自身家庭中承担着同样的照料工作。然而这种同样创造着价值的工作一般并没有得到补偿。来自乡村的打工族及潜在的妇女民工可能处于一种复杂的社会地位中,她们的工作在这两种社会环境中都迫切需要,并都为她们的家庭或通过所挣工资,或通过直接使用其劳动创造着价值。这两种工作情况——在非正规经济之中或其外,以及在亲属关系之中或其外,都是社会构成的。本文提出一种基于价值观与人类学马塞尔莫斯学派的人性经济概念, 并进一步将其扩展并充分性别化的非正规经济。 (This article is in English.)

In: Rural China

This article presents an updated overview of China’s “informal economy,” based mainly on social-economic and legal history, and attempts to clarify its conceptual origins, composition, nature, size, and changes in the past thirty-five years. Special attention is paid to the rise of “dispatch work” and of the “new generation peasant workers” in the past decade. The article then introduces and discusses the content and issues raised by the six articles and two commentaries of the symposium, “China’s Informal Economy, Reconsidered.” The focus is on how China’s “informal economy” is different from or the same as the older category of “the proletariat” and the newer category of “the precariat.”

本文从社会经济史与法律史的视角对中国的非正经济进行更新了的综述,试图澄清其概念起源,以及其构成、性质、规模和近三十五年中的变化。文章特别关注到最近十来年中“劳务派遣”以及“新生代农民工”的兴起。然后,文章介绍了本专辑“中国非正规经济——再思考”所纳入的六篇论文和两篇点评,主要关注的问题是中国的“非正规经济”和之前被广泛使用的“无产阶级”以及新近被使用的“危难工人”(precariat)两个范畴之间的异同。 (This article is in English.)

In: Rural China
Author: Jieh-min Wu

China’s migrant workers are not treated as equal citizens in their sojourning cities. They are systemically discriminated against by virtue of China’s system of differential citizenship, but their situation varies according to different local conditions. Scholars have argued that globalization has brought about hierarchies of citizenship among the world’s nation-states. However, they have paid little attention to the effects of globalization on the hierarchical allocation of citizen rights within the nation-state. The article argues that globalization in the form of foreign investment does not have a uniform impact on the allocation of citizen rights across regions in a huge country rich in diversity. Rather, divergent local citizenship regimes have emerged due to varying configurations of local conditions and their interaction with state policy and global capital. The article defines three types of local migrant citizenship regimes and compares different institutional arrangements, official and corporate behavior, and migrants’ situation across regions.

中國農民工在旅居地缺乏完整公民權,不被當成平等的市民(公民)對待,遭受公民身分差序體制的歧視與排除,但歧視待遇因地而異。有研究者論證,全球化使得民族國家之間產生公民身分階層化的關係。但是,該類研究甚少注意到全球化帶給民族國家內部之公民權利階層化的現象。本文論證:全球化生產下,外資對中國公民權利配置的影響並非單一模式,而是表現出區域差異。不同地區條件的組合,以及這些條件與國家政策和全球資本的互動,催生了不同的地方公民身分體制。本文界定了三種地方公民身分體制的類型,並比較上海、蘇南、珠三角等區域之間在制度安排、地方政府與企業行為、以及民工處境上的差異。本文研究材料來自田野調查深度訪談、匯總統計資料分析、以及官方文件分析。 (This article is in English.)

In: Rural China
Author: Ching Kwan Lee

This commentary develops an analytical framework for studying precarious labor as relational struggles on three contested terrains: recognition, regulation, and social reproduction.

本文通过对识别、规制和社会再生产三个争夺地带的讨论,构建了一个将不稳定劳工作为“关系型抗争”的分析框架。 (This article is in English.)

In: Rural China

Research on informal employment in China has mainly adopted an urban perspective, ignoring its rural social and economic dimensions. This article, adopting a rural perspective, not only takes into considerations a greater number of informal forms of employment, such as part-time businesses and self-employment, but also explores the mechanisms that differentiate the various types of informal employment by comparing the level of development of township and village enterprises and changes in the mode of agricultural management. The article discusses the forms and evolution of informal employment in two villages in Dingxian (Ting Hsien) 定县, a county that has been studied in depth since the 1920s. Our study finds that the distance between township enterprises and the village is an important factor influencing peasants’ informal employment since it largely determines the choice of peasants to “leave both the land and the village” or to “leave the land but not the village,” which in turn further affects the level of peasants’ incomes. Compared with employees in the formal sector, these informal employees are obviously in a weak position in terms of wage levels, working conditions, welfare, security, and so on. As for the internal environment, changes of the mode of rural production also affect the forms of informal employment. The large-scale operation of the land will liberate the agricultural labor force, so as to expand the potential scale of farmers’ employment, and the shift from growing food crops to growing cash crops will lead to more diversified forms of farmers’ concurrent businesses. Finally, the article tries to establish a framework composed of the internal and external environment of the village to explain the mechanism of peasants’ informal employment.

国内关于非正规就业的研究,大多是以城市为观察视角,忽视了非正规就业人员身后的农村社会经济状况。把农村作为研究的起点,不仅可以纳入更多的非正规就业形式,如农民兼业和个体经营等,更为重要的是,它还能够通过对比“传统部门”内不同程度的乡镇企业发展与农业经营方式变化,从而发现非正规就业的差异化形成机制。作为上世纪20年代就已备受学界关注的农村社会,河北定县有着深厚的学术研究传统。本研究选取了当地两个具有不同特征的村庄,发现附近是否存在乡镇企业很大程度上决定了农民打工的距离远近,即离乡还是不离乡,这也进一步影响农民收入水平的高低。无论是以建筑业为主的离乡务工,还是以作坊式乡镇企业为主的在乡务工,其员工的工资水平、工作条件和福利保障等方面均处于不利位置。与此同时,农村内部经营方式变化也会影响、甚至促成新的非正规就业。土地规模经营更大程度上解放了农业劳动力,客观上扩大了农民外出的潜在规模;从种植粮食作物到经济作物的转变,使得农民兼业形式变得更加多样化。最后,我们尝试建立一个由村庄内外部环境共同作用形成的经验框架来解释农村非正规就业的变化机制。 (This article is in English.)

In: Rural China
Author: Xiaowei Gui

While the study of contention in China has become a “rapid-growth industry,” existing explanations cannot convincingly account for the positive outcome of numerous Chinese protests, many of which lack the social strength required to succeed. Based on a systematic review of these studies, this article finds that an important reason for the weakness of these studies is that they focus on the protesters advocating change rather than the officials handling them. Accordingly, they pay too much attention to the factors increasing social strength, and ignore far more interesting clues about how the state can also influence contention. The article redirects our attention away from protesters and toward officials, and provides a framework for analyzing the handling of Chinese protests based on six analytical dimensions: changes in state capacity, tensions between different dimensions of state legitimacy, contradictions in the xinfang system, divisions among elites, state-society links, and state strategies in response to protests. This more meticulous examination of the state’s position thus supplements the previously informative but incomplete understanding of the Chinese state and sheds further light on the dynamics and outcomes of Chinese protests.

基于对海内外近20年来有关中国社会抗争研究的述评,本文指出了现有文献中的一个不足,即“国家”视角的缺失,并据此提出了一个“抗争治理”的理论框架。这一框架包括“多元合法性的张力”、“国家能力的变化”、“信访体系的矛盾”、“官僚机构间的分歧”、“官民权力利益关系的强弱”和“抗争治理的策略”六个方面,从“政府官员”的视角更细腻地剖析了国家与社会在抗争中的互动,对我国加强和创新社会管理能力具有积极的价值。 (This article is in English.)

In: Rural China
Author: Sarah Swider

Is global capitalism responsible for increasing precarious work around the globe, or is the rise of informal and precarious work a newly emerging trend in the West but a long-standing reality for the rest of the world? This article enters debates about precarious and informal work using the case of China, and in doing so, challenges our West/Rest binary. It shows how informal work in China is not a new phenomenon, but rather was the norm during China’s early industrialization, from 1898 to 1949. Even during the Maoist period, full-time standard employment under the danwei system was a privilege reserved for “urban” workers, in part made possible by a reliance on the rural population as a source of flexible labor. During the contemporary post-Mao period, not only has informal work flourished, so have other new forms of precarious work. However, while scholars of Chinese labor and labor politics have carefully documented the rise of precarious work and its impact on labor politics, informal precarious workers have remained largely invisible and are absent in most analyses. Expanding our framework in a way that includes rather than eliminates these workers from our analysis has significant ramifications for how we understand this historical moment. It suggests that there is increasing fragmentation of the working class, which calls into question the idea that China’s economic rise has created a new widespread industrial working class which can be expected to develop a unified class consciousness and challenge capital as it did in the West.

全球化的资本主义是否应对全球日益增长的不稳定工作负责?与日俱增的非正式和不稳定工作是否在西方世界是一个新兴的现象,然而在世界其他地方却是一个长存已久的事实?本文通过中国的案例介绍了关于不稳定和非正式工作的讨论,此做法也挑战了“我们西方”与“剩余世界”的二分法。它展示了中国的非正式工作并非一种新现象,而是在中国早期工业化阶段(从1898年到1949年)的范式。甚至在毛时期,在单位制系统下的全职的标准式雇佣制是为城市工人保存的特权,部分原因是由于他们依靠农村人口作为灵活劳动力的来源。在后毛泽东时期的当代,不仅非正式工作蓬勃发展,还产生了其他新形式的不稳定工作。虽然中国劳动和劳动政治学者已经详细论述了不稳定工人的兴起及其对劳工政治的影响,但是大量的非正式工人不为人们所知,在大多数的文献研究中也缺乏对此的论述。在分析当中,以包括而非剔除这些工人的方式去扩展研究框架对我们如何理解这个历史时刻意义深远。本文表明了工人阶级的日趋碎片化,挑战了这样一种想法,即:崛起的中国经济能产生具有统一阶级意识并能像西方工人阶级那样挑战资本的新的广泛的工人阶级。 (This article is in English.)

In: Rural China
Authors: Lulu Fan and Hong Xue

In China and beyond, garment industries are often dominated by female informal laborers. Existing studies on female informal workers have focused on describing the poor working conditions such as low wages, high risk, lack of job security, and gender segmentation, and analyzing the reasons behind them. However, there is little discussion on the associational power of these informal workers. Based on surveys and field studies in the garment industries in the Yangtze River Delta conducted between 2011 and 2013, this article explores the cooperative production team formed by the women workers and attempts to explain how female informal workers can gain the associational power to enhance labor standards and obtain control over the labor process. The findings of this study indicate the possibility of labor solidarity in informal employment and also expand our discussion on the power of female workers.

无论从中国还是全球来看,服装制造业都是一个在用工模式上既是女性主导又是非正规就业集中的产业。而以往诸多对非正规就业女工的研究中,研究者往往侧重于对工人低工资、高风险、低保障、性别区隔等情况的描述以及造成这些状况的原因的分析,但是缺乏对工人组织性力量的分析。基于在2011–2013年于长三角服装业进行的问卷调查和田野研究数据,本文以嘉兴服装业的合作生产队为例,分析女工是如何形成组织性的力量,从而获得更高的工资水平和对劳动过程的控制能力。本项研究的发现一方面指出了中国非正规就业中工作形态的多样性和变化性,另一方面也拓展了对于非正规就业中劳工组织和劳工力量问题的讨论。 (This article is in Chinese.)

In: Rural China
Author: Qianhou Yue

Opium cultivation and trading in the CCP-controlled base areas during the War of Resistance against Japan (1937–1945) has been a subject of historical research in recent years, thanks to the availability of a large amount of original documents from Shanxi Provincial Archives, published compilations of source material, the memoirs of relevant individuals, and other documents, which reveal the facts about the “special commodity” or opium in the Northwestern Shanxi (or Shanxi-Suiyuan) base area. This article argues that the organized and planned opium cultivation and trading, as the last resort to solving its fiscal crisis in a particular circumstance, was subject to the base area government’s strict policies of the separation of cultivation from smoking prohibition, unified procurement and sales, and severe penalty on opium smuggling. These policies worked to safeguard the solvency of the base area’s entire fiscal and financial system while protecting the people of the base area from the harm caused by opium.

近些年来抗日根据地及解放区特货(又称“鸦片”)种植与贸易问题受到学界关注,而山西省档案馆所藏大量原始档案资料及先前出版的某些资料汇编、个人回忆文本等历史文献,均证明了晋西北(晋绥)抗日根据地特货存在的基本事实。不过,这种有组织有计划的种植与贸易是特定生存环境下的无奈选择,边区政府在此过程中严格执行“种禁”(即种植与禁止吸食)分离、统购统销、重惩走私的政策,既保障了整个财政金融体系得以运行又使根据地境内百姓免遭烟毒之害。 (This article is in Chinese.)

In: Rural China