Search Results


In The Politics of Production, Michael Burawoy emphasized how different production regimes shape the political and ideological aspects of workers’ resistance. However, the present study’s analysis of collective struggles by the new generation of Chinese migrant workers shows that, aside from the regulatory role of production regimes themselves, the unique life experiences and social traits of China’s new workers influence how different production regimes are experienced. Moreover, through the combination of different production regimes, workers’ experiences and traits also engender unique forms of life, bonds of solidarity, and methods of mobilization. This article emphasizes the political significance of life. The social relations and experiences forged through production and life give rise to three patterns of struggle among China’s new workers: (a) offensive struggles to advance their interests based on relationships among coworkers and classmates, (b) atomized struggles to both defend and advance their interests, and (c) riots. Each pattern of struggle demarcates a unique challenge in China, “the world’s workshop.”

In: Factory Politics in the People's Republic of China