Gender and the South China Miracle
Two Worlds of Factory Women
By (author) Ching Kwan Lee
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Gender and the South China Miracle by Ching Kwan Lee
Book DescriptionBoth Yuk-ling, a busy Hong Kong mother of two, and Chi-ying, a young single woman from a remote village in northern China, work in electronics factories owned by the same foreign corporation, manufacturing identical electronic components. After a decade of job growth and increasing foreign investment in Hong Kong and South China, both women are also participating in the spectacular economic transformation that has come to be called the South China miracle. Yet, as Ching Kwan Lee demonstrates in her unique and fascinating study of women workers on either side of the Chinese-Hong Kong border, the working lives and factory cultures of these women are vastly different. In this rich comparative ethnography, Lee describes how two radically different factory cultures have emerged from a period of profound economic change. In Hong Kong, "matron workers" remain in factories for decades. In Guangdong, a seemingly endless number of young "maiden workers" travel to the south from northern provinces, following the promise of higher wages. Whereas the women in Hong Kong participate in a management system characterized by "familial hegemony," the young women in Guangdong find an internal system of power based on regional politics and kin connections, or "localistic despotism." Having worked side-by-side with these women on the floors of both factories, Lee concludes that it is primarily the differences in the gender politics of the two labor markets that determine the culture of each factory. Posing an ambitious challenge to sociological theories that reduce labor politics to pure economics or state power structures, Lee argues that gender plays a crucial role in the cultures and management strategies of factories that rely heavily on women workers.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780520211278
(229mm x 152mm x 16mm)
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 24-Aug-1998
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Ching Kwan Lee
From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization, Hardback (July 2011)
In From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization, an interdisciplinary group of authors examines the nature, causes, and consequences of informal employment in China at a time of major changes in Chinese society.
Reclaiming Chinese Society, Paperback (September 2009)
Analyzes the mechanisms, processes and actors producing various social and cultural changes in reform China. This title argues for the centrality of the social in understanding Chinese development. It addresses grassroots activism, covering feminist activism, civic environmentalism, religious revival, violence, film, media, and intellectuals.
Against the Law, Paperback (May 2007)
Opens a critical perspective on the slow death of socialism and the rebirth of capitalism in the world's most dynamic and populous country. Based on fieldwork and extensive interviews in Chinese textile, apparel, machinery, and household appliance factories, this book finds a rising tide of labor unrest mostly hidden from the world's attention.
Working in China, Hardback (September 2006)» View all books by Ching Kwan Lee
Introduces the lived experiences of labour in a range of occupations and work settings. This book covers professional employees such as engineers and lawyers, service workers such as bar hostesses, domestic maids and hotel workers, and industrial workers in a variety of factories.
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Author Biography - Ching Kwan Lee
Ching Kwan Lee is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan.
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