Psyche Matters: Resistance from the Chinese Sweatshop of the World

In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
Author: Jake Lin 1
View More View Less
  • 1 Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo, Japan

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

€25.00$30.00

Abstract

Why has the contemporary Chinese labor activism failed to engender transformative social and political change? One obvious answer is the authoritarian state’s neoliberal and technological fix and continuously ramped up efforts to stifle labor movements. This article, however, takes the focus back to workers themselves. Drawing from fieldwork studies, it examines workers and activists’ resistance, focusing on their everyday interpretation of the source of their problems, prospects for a labor movement, and their sense of solidarity. It argues that Chinese workers have not acquired sufficient cognitive strength to become the much-hoped-for agent of political change.

  • Anagnost, Ann. 2008. “From ‘class’ to ‘social strata’: Grasping the social totality in reform-era China.” Third World Quarterly 29(3):497-519.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bendix, Reinhard. 1977. Nation-building and citizenship: Studies of our changing social order. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bryson, Alex, Bernhard Ebbinghaus, and Jelle Visser. 2011. “Introduction: Causes, consequences and cures of union decline.” European Journal of Industrial Relations 17(2):97-105.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chan, Anita. 2018. “The relationship between labour NGOs and Chinese workers in an authoritarian regime.” Global Labour Journal 9(1):1-18.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chan, Chris King-Chi. 2012. “Class or citizenship? Debating workplace conflict in China.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 42(2):308-327.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chan, Chris King-Chi. 2013. “Contesting class organization: Migrant workers’ strikes in China’s Pearl River Delta, 1978-2010.” International Labor and Working Class History 83:112-136.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chang Kai. 2014. “The Collective transformation of labor relations and improvement of the government’s labor policy.” Social Sciences in China 35(3):82-99.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chang Kai and Fang Lee Cooke. 2015. “Legislating the right to strike in China: Historical development and prospects.” Journal of Industrial Relations 57(3):440-455.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chen Fen. 2009. “State, institution, and working class formation: Western literature and its implications for labor studies in China.” Sociological Studies 5:165-188.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chen Fen and Yi Kang. 2016. “Disorganized popular contention and local institutional building in China: A case study in Guangdong.” Journal of Contemporary China 25(100):596-612.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chu, Yin-Wah. 1998. “Labor and democratization in South Korea and Taiwan.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 28(2):185-202.

  • Chun, Lin. 2013. China and global capitalism: Reflections on Marxism, history, and contemporary politics. NY: Springer.

  • Clark, Gordon L. 2006. Unions and communities under siege: American communities and the crisis of organized labor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Crossley, Nick. 2002. Making sense of social movements. London: McGraw-Hill Education.

  • Edelman.com. 2019. “2019 Edelman Trust Barometer.” Edelmen.com. (https://www.edelman.com/trust-barometer).

  • Ferguson, James. 2013. “Declarations of dependence: Labour, personhood, and welfare in Southern Africa.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19(2):223-242.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fu, Diana. 2017. Mobilizing without the masses: Control and contention in China. UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Göbel, Christian. 2017. “Social unrest in China: A bird’s eye perspective.” Pp. 27-45 in Handbook on dissent and protest in China. Edited by Teresa Wright. UK: Edward Elger.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goodwin, Jeff and James Jasper (Eds). 2009. Social Movements Reader (2nd Edition). West Sussex: Blackwell.

  • Harvey, David. 1981. “The spatial fix: Hegel, von Thunen, and Marx.” Antipode 13(3):1-12.

  • Jasper, James M. and Jane D. Poulsen. 1995. “Recruiting strangers and friends: Moral shocks and social networks in animal rights and anti-nuclear protests.” Social Problems 42(4):493-512.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Katznelson, Ira. 1986. “Working-class formation: Constructing cases and comparisons.” Pp. 3-41 in Working-class formation: Nineteenth-century patterns in Western Europe and the United States. Edited by Ira Katznelson and Aristide R. Zolberg. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Li, Ju. 2015. “From ‘master’ to ‘loser’: Changing working-class cultural identity in contemporary China.” International Labor and Working-Class History 88:190-208.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lin, Jake. 2020. Chinese Politics and Labor Movements. Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Lorwin, Val R. 1958. “Working-class politics and economic development in Western Europe.” The American Historical Review 63(2):338-351.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marks, Gary. 1989. Unions in Politics Britain, Germany, and the United States in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McAdam, Doug. 1982. Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930-1970. IL: University of Chicago Press.

  • Nettl, J.P. 1968. “The state as a conceptual variable.” World Politics 20(4):559-592.

  • Perry, Elizabeth. 2009. “A new rights consciousness?Journal of Democracy 20(3):17-20.

  • Podoshen, Jeffrey, Lu Li, and Junfeng Zhang. 2010. “Materialism and conspicuous consumption in China: A cross-cultural examination.” International Journal of Consumer Studies 35(1):17-25.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pope, James G. 2002. “The Thirteenth Amendment versus the Commerce Clause: Labor and the shaping of American Constitutional Law, 1921-1957.” Columbia Law Review 102(1):1-122.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pravda, Alex. 1982. “Poland 1980: From “premature consumerism” to labour solidarity.” Soviet Studies 34(2):167-199.

  • Tetlock, Philip E. 1985. “Accountability: A social check on the fundamental attribution error.” Social Psychology Quarterly 48(3):227-236.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tilly, Charles. 1986. The Contentious French. MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Tilly, Charles and Lesley J. Wood. 2009. Social Movements, 1768-2008 (2nd Edition). CO: Paradigm Publication.

  • Wood, Ellen Meiksins. 2017. The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View. New York: Verso.

  • Xu, Yi and Hui Xu. 2019. “The Chinese Model of ‘Robotic Substitution for Labor’.” [in Chinese]. Guangcha.cn. July 3. (https://www.guancha.cn/xuyi/2019_07_03_507947_s.shtml).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zuzowski, Robert. 1999. “Poland’s democracy in labour: 1989-1998.” South African Journal of International Affairs 6(2):163-172.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 344 344 23
Full Text Views 14 14 5
PDF Downloads 6 6 0