Gender and internal migration in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China

Gender and internal migration in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China

Material Information

Gender and internal migration in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China rural hometowns, factory work, and urban experiences
Janiec-Grygo, Milena Urszula
Place of Publication:
[Tampa, Fla]
University of South Florida
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Women workers
Rural-to-urban migration
Migrant remittances
Socialist economy
Dissertations, Academic -- Geography -- Masters -- USF ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: This thesis focuses on gender and scale as key aspects of the rural-to-urban migration process in China. Its specific aim is to connect economic and social reasons for rural women's migration towards urban factory work. Contemporary large-scale migration studies show inconsistencies and contradictions concerning reasons for migration, especially as it relates to gender. Thus, migration research often emphasizes the positive social changes experienced by women workers, in effect signaling that the most important needs of women migrants can be satisfied without economic gains. In contrast, the proposed study seeks to show that social and economic reasons intertwine within women's experiences of and explanations for their migration. The theoretical framework for the proposed study is based on postmodern understandings of gender, economy, and society. Data for the study was acquired through qualitative techniques, specifically through interviews with workers.The findings of this study supported the thesis that both economic and social factors informed women's decision to become migrants. In addition, this study revealed specific experiences of women workers related to migration. Thus, women decided to become migrants largely because their education allowed them to gain employment in urban areas and ability to gain independent income. Although social networks played a large role in the recruitment of rural women workers, they were not necessary to find employment. Experiences of v vi factory work reveal that the relationship between women and their employers are less restrictive than expected. In addition, rural women's experiences of being migrants in the city, although constrained by timings of factory work, encompass both material and social forms of consumption. Overall, migration outcomes reflected changing social status of women in the rural areas. Thus, this research approaches migration as a dynamic process.Embedded in this process are fluid identities of migrant women workers. Through questioning the meanings of 'social' and 'economic' migration, this research adds to existing studies on gender and migration in China and contextualizes the value of women workers to China's economy. Alongside, the study moves away from shop floor politics to the wider space outside the factory, thus linking urban and rural contexts. In a broader sense, this research aims to inform theories related to the economics and politics of migration through adding a spatial component to social understandings of the gendered migration process.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Milena Urszula Janiec-Grygo.

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Janiec-Grygo, Milena Urszula.
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Gender and internal migration in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China :
b rural hometowns, factory work, and urban experiences
h [electronic resource] /
by Milena Urszula Janiec-Grygo.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 167 pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: This thesis focuses on gender and scale as key aspects of the rural-to-urban migration process in China. Its specific aim is to connect economic and social reasons for rural women's migration towards urban factory work. Contemporary large-scale migration studies show inconsistencies and contradictions concerning reasons for migration, especially as it relates to gender. Thus, migration research often emphasizes the positive social changes experienced by women workers, in effect signaling that the most important needs of women migrants can be satisfied without economic gains. In contrast, the proposed study seeks to show that social and economic reasons intertwine within women's experiences of and explanations for their migration. The theoretical framework for the proposed study is based on postmodern understandings of gender, economy, and society. Data for the study was acquired through qualitative techniques, specifically through interviews with workers.The findings of this study supported the thesis that both economic and social factors informed women's decision to become migrants. In addition, this study revealed specific experiences of women workers related to migration. Thus, women decided to become migrants largely because their education allowed them to gain employment in urban areas and ability to gain independent income. Although social networks played a large role in the recruitment of rural women workers, they were not necessary to find employment. Experiences of v vi factory work reveal that the relationship between women and their employers are less restrictive than expected. In addition, rural women's experiences of being migrants in the city, although constrained by timings of factory work, encompass both material and social forms of consumption. Overall, migration outcomes reflected changing social status of women in the rural areas. Thus, this research approaches migration as a dynamic process.Embedded in this process are fluid identities of migrant women workers. Through questioning the meanings of 'social' and 'economic' migration, this research adds to existing studies on gender and migration in China and contextualizes the value of women workers to China's economy. Alongside, the study moves away from shop floor politics to the wider space outside the factory, thus linking urban and rural contexts. In a broader sense, this research aims to inform theories related to the economics and politics of migration through adding a spatial component to social understandings of the gendered migration process.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Pratyusha Basu, Ph.D.
Women workers
Rural-to-urban migration
Migrant remittances
Socialist economy
Dissertations, Academic
x Geography
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


Gender And Internal Migration In Wuhan, Hubei Province, China: Rural Hometowns, Factory Wo rk, And Urban Experiences by Milena Urszula Janiec-Grygo A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Geography College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Pratyusha Basu, Ph.D. M. Martin Bosman, Ph.D. Dajin Peng, Ph.D. Date of Approval: November 10, 2009 Keywords: women workers, rural-to-urban migration, migrant remittances, socialist economy, globalization Copyright 2009 Milena Urszula Janiec-Grygo


Acknowledgments It is a pleasure to acknowledge some of the faculty members and friends who have contributed to this thesis. I am gratef ul to Dr. Martin Bosman for his remarkable discussions regarding theory and methods. Dr. Dajin Peng class benefited greatly my understanding of economy. Above all, I would like to ackno wledge Dr. Pratyusha Basu for trust and support she has given me th rough the process of research planning, fieldwork, and thesis writing. Moreover, I would like to thank Dr. Basu for genuine interest she has shown in my study and provi ding me with inexhaustible source of reading materials, great di scussions concerning gender and economy, as well as all exceptional advice regarding my thesis. My studies would not have been the same without the intellectual challenge provided by her. I am extremely grateful to all my partic ipants who decided to share their stories with me. Without their help and time that they have given me, this research would have not materialized. It was a pl easure to have met you all I will always remember and cherish your support. Moreover, I would lik e to thank Yingqun Cao for help with the interviews, the collection of survey data, and her support throughout my stay in Wuhan. I would like to thank all of my colleagues, Trina Halfhide, Richard Salkowe, Angela Gilbert, Dustin Hinkel, Naimis h Upadhyay, and Nicole Caesar.


My husband, Tomasz Grygo, has provided much moral and material support during the long years of my education and I thank him for his patience during research study in China and writing of this thesis. Als o, I would like to thank my dad, Piotr Janiec, and my grandparents, Bozena and Stefan Kulik.


Table of Contents List of Tables iii List of Figures iv Abstract v Chapter One: Introduction 1 Central Arguments and Research Questions 4 Significance 7 Outline of Thesis 8 Chapter Two: Chinas Economy and Spatial Divisions of Development 9 Socialism, Capitalism, and Chinese Characteristics 9 Chinas Regional Divisions 19 Agriculture in Hubei Province 26 Industry in Wuhan City and Hubei Province 33 Chapter Three: Gender a nd Migration: Linking Econom y, Society and Space 38 Economic and Social Components 38 Spaces and Scales 43 Chapter Four: Approaching Womens Voices 53 Postmodern, Poststructural and Feminist Frameworks 54 Womens Voices 58 Interviews and Positionality 61 Experiences with Interviewing 63 Describing the Factories 68 Describing Interview Participants 70 Chapter Five: From Hometowns to Factories: Strategies of Mobility 76 Home Village [] 76 Womens Status in Hometowns 82 Reasons for Migration 88 Recruitment Processes 97 Conclusion 102 i


Chapter Six: The City Leaves Me Breathless: Factory Work and Urban Living 104 Urban Hukou 104 Experiences of Factory Work 108 Experiences of Urban Living 118 Urban Leisure 123 Experiences of Return and Remittances 129 Conclusion 135 Chapter Seven: Conclusion 137 References 143 Appendices 155 Appendix A: Interview Questions 156 Appendix B: List of In terview Participants 164 ii


List of Tables Table 1 Participants Age 71 Table 2 Participants Education Level 73 Table 3 Number of Siblings of the Participants 74 Table 4 Participants Schedules 110 iii


List of Figures Figure 1. Chinas Regional Divisions 22 Figure 2. Wuhan, Hubei Province 26 Figure 2. Participants Origins 70 iv


Gender, Internal Migration, and Factory Recruitment Practices in Hubei Province, China Milena Urszula Janiec-Grygo ABSTRACT This thesis focuses on gender and scale as ke y aspects of the rura l-to-urban migration process in China. Its specific aim is to connect economic and social reasons for rural womens migration towards urban factory work. Contemporary large-scale migration studies show inconsistencie s and contradictions concer ning reasons for migration, especially as it relates to gender. Thus, mi gration research often emphasizes the positive social changes experienced by women worker s, in effect signaling that the most important needs of women migrants can be satisfied without economic gains. In contrast, the proposed study seeks to show that social and economic reasons intertwine within womens experiences of and expl anations for their migration. The theoretical framework for the pr oposed study is based on postmodern understandings of gender, economy, and societ y. Data for the study was acquired through qualitative techniques, specifica lly through interviews with wo rkers. The findings of this study supported the thesis that both economic and social factors informed womens decision to become migrants. In addition, th is study revealed sp ecific experiences of women workers related to migration. Thus, women decided to become migrants largely because their education allowed them to gain employment in urban areas and ability to gain independent income. Although social networ ks played a large role in the recruitment of rural women workers, they were not n ecessary to find employment. Experiences of v


vi factory work reveal that the relationship between women and their employers are less restrictive than expected. In addition, rural womens experiences of being migrants in the city, although constrained by timings of f actory work, encompass both material and social forms of consumption. Overall, migration outcomes reflected changi ng social status of women in the rural areas. Thus, this research approaches migra tion as a dynamic process. Embedded in this process are fluid identities of migrant women workers. Through questioning the meanings of social and economic migration, this research adds to existing studies on gender and migration in China and contextuali zes the value of women workers to Chinas economy. Alongside, the study moves away from shop floor politics to the wider space outside the factory, thus linking urban and rural contexts. In a broader sense, this research aims to inform theories related to the ec onomics and politics of migration through adding a spatial component to social understandi ngs of the gendered migration process.


1 Chapter One Introduction Since the economic reforms of the late 1970s and the setting up of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in coastal areas, China has been experiencing a significant increase in the movement of people from rural to urban areas (Cannon and Jenkins 1990, 211). Internal migration, regulated and unregulated, has been under scrutiny by researchers seeking to describe its scope as well as reasons behind it (Fan 2005; Gaetano and Jacka 2004) In such studies, two different factors emerge as p rincipally influencing internal migration the state and the individual desires of the migrants themselves. The city, in effect supplying cheap and flexible labor to domestic and multinational companies. Moreover individual migrants are seeking to participate in capitalist enterprises to fulfill desires for better opportunities. Young people, especially young, rural women, now have a chance to move to cities, to chan ge their own future, to broaden the horizons, and to enjoy the new cultural landscapes that urban areas provide. migration is provided by Jacka (2005). Within her research, an especiall y powerful example of such desires is represented in the words of Zhou Ling, a migrant woman in Beijing,


2 The state [guojia] is very happy about this state of affairs. They have cheap labor for migrant workers to cause trouble [naoshi]. There is an economist at Peking University he is very famous. Once on TV he said it made me so angry city, they are like water. When the city needs them we turn on the tap and le t them was so angry have any thought for our needs as human beings. We need to marry and have children, we need to have a stable family and we need opportunities to develop ourselves. Young people want to change their fate, to go forward, to realize their worth. That is what they yearn for (Jacka 2005, 261). e giving of urban residence and working permits to a small percentage of the rural population, constructs a perfect workforce for capitalist enterprises, for many young people staying in the village means limited prospects for better education and employme nt. Moreover, while the work undertaken by peasant women in the city is widely perceived as hard, low paying, and even unbecoming as women are sometimes stigmatized for working and living unsupervised by their families for many young women it is still a positive alternative compared to life in the village (Hew 2003a, 2003b; Lee 1998). Currently, persistent unemployment and underemployment, in rural areas, combined with limited access to social benefits, has created large streams of migration in


3 China. S ince there are so many rural workers entering urban areas, cities have become a place of conflict between rural migrants on the one hand, and urban elites and government officials on the other. As L. Zhang (2001) describes it, The emergence of this large mobile population has challenged socialist state control of the population, which has been primarily based on the household registration system (hukou) and is reshaping state society dynamics in an era of increased mobility and marketization. In particula outskirts of Chinese cities are viewed as problematic by upper level government s in these newly formed community spaces (201). The potential for conflicts around the presence of rural migrants in cities has thus not gone unnoticed by the government. In 2001, the Communist Party debated the elimination of the hukou system in some SEZ s as well as discussed the hukou system as creating second class citizens (Brooks and Tao 2003). Yet, the situation regarding government control of migrants has not completely changed. Moreover negative assumptions towards peasants remain unchallenged in society (Zhang 2001). Since migrants meet often with prejudice and exploitation, and the process of migration itself is expensive, it remains open to question if migration improves or worsens the lives of rural workers (Zhao 1999). The aim of this thesis i


4 economically growing China. Previous research has shown that young, single women are most vulnerable to exploitation among migrants, yet the possibility of working in the city also provides women with econo mic and social improvement (Hew 2003a, 2003b; Lee 1998). Based on such understandings, this research highlights the complexities of gendered narratives of migration. More specifically, it inquires into the migration of young rural women and their experienc es of being recruited into urban factories, in terms of their own understandings of the extent to which they are being exploited to sustain government supported economic reform in China (Fan 2004a; Solinger 2003; Wang 1998), or whether they view factory wo rk as an experience that creates positive opportunities and improves their lives (Goldstein, Liang, and Goldstein 2000) The next section elaborates on the specific questions that will guide this inquiry. Central Arguments and Research Questions The broa d questions that this research asks are related to why and with what consequences migration occurs. These questions are based on two theoretical understandings of migration: the first that studies of migration cannot be conducted through isolated economic and social understandings, and the second that an interlinked economic social approach to migration also requires an interlinked understanding of space. In general, migration studies often immediately treat migration as a gendered process, in that reasons are viewed as being different from reasons treated as social, with their concerns primarily linked to marriage and their families. Men,


5 on the othe r hand, are supposed to migrate for economic reasons. Although some studies question this gendered dichotomy (e.g. He and Gober 2003; Roberts 2002), and although researchers are quick to notice that on the factory floor women become economic subjects (Lee 1998), outside of the factory expectations from and towards their marriage partners and family, and away from economic processes. This gendered division between social and economic reasons for migration follows broader not which are in turn reinforced by larger theoretical understandings of the relationship between economic and social processes. Thus, within Marxist frameworks, social structures are always subordinated in the last instance to reinforce economic imperatives and structures ( McLellan 2000, 180) In contrast, within postmodern and poststructural studies, there is a tendency to focus on social and cultural issues, with economy often emerging as a secondary conce rn. Informed by such problems in emphases, the aim of this research is to provide equal attention to both economic and social realms. This becomes all the more significant since excluding women from economic reasons for migrations feeds the agenda of rende ring invisible the ways in which utilization of The interlinking of economy and society also requires an interlinking of the spaces within which notions of economy and society are articulated. Given that economic and social issues are widely discussed in terms of their appearance within urban and rural spaces, bridging the distance between notions of urban and rural does not only define migrant identity but also has to characterize migration research. For instance, economy may be understood in terms of 'urban work' and juxtaposed with the social 'status of


6 women in rural areas,' so that conceptual divisions are mapped onto spatial divisions. Moreover economy may be represented by di scussions of 'declines in availability of rural work' and social in terms of 'leisure in the city,' again separating events and acts that may be better understood when juxtaposed with one another. Alongside, discourses pertaining to spatial divisions are t hemselves highly gendered, so that bridging rural urban divisions is part of a deeper engagement with meanings of rural to urban movement in the context of a focus on women. At a larger scale, links between rural migrant women and urban factory work are al so key to understanding how spatial and gendered identities and processes are intertwined in the production of the contemporary global economy. a means to understand processes of migration. By concentrating on the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, it depicts the ways in which internal migration in China is not merely focused on the southern coast, while also illuminating how specific differences between rural and urban places pro vide the impetus for internal migrations. Wuhan is an important industrial and transportation center in China, but it is also a city struggling to compete with coastal SEZs, so that it enables an appreciation of the spatial divisions that characterize the contemporary economy of this research also supplements the transnational, national, and provincial orientation of migration studies by adding evidence from the position of rural hometowns, family bodies. These situated experiences of capitalist processes should not be omitted from migration studies but used in order to connect urban and rural spaces. The specific sub questions of this thesis are: What led women to leave their villages and become m igrants?


7 What role do social networks play in the recruitment of rural women workers? Significance o the global economy, regulation and supply of women migrant workers has become central to its economic growth ( Fan 2003, 2004b, 2004c, 2005; Solinger 2003; Wang 1998) Two major concerns that are especially evoked are, first, about producing a cheap and e xpendable workforce, and, second, about creating new economic opportunities for women workers. Therefore, this study continues and enhances inquiries into women workers in China. Existing studies on internal migration in China distinguish between men and w business reasons, whereas women mainly migrate for reasons related to marriage and family (e.g. He and Gober 2003). This study questions this gendered notion of reasons f or migration by showing that women also migrate for economic reasons, and that social and economic reasons for migration cannot be strictly separated on the basis of gender. Instead, reasons for migration have to be seen as a meld of social and economic re asons. This research extends existing studies focusing on rural urban differences, especially in terms of the increasing rural urban income gap (Fu et al. 2005) which is becoming an important issue in China. Explicitly, it will add to the study of migrati on by introducing new narratives on perceived economic and cultural differences between the country and the city by women workers. In this study, the identities of migrants are


8 viewed as dynamic not fixed to one place, but linked to both origin and desti nation. Therefore, this research supplement s studies of migration, by arguing that women workers challenge the urban rural divide through the process of migration. Outline of Thesis This thesis is divided into seven chapters. The next chapter critically examines the migration arise. In addition, this chapter introduces agriculture and industry in Hubei province and the city of Wuhan. Chapter Three outlines the theoretical frameworks utilized for this research, including the gender and migration studies from which it draws and the postmodern and poststructural perspectives that guide it s methods. Chapter Four describes specific methods and procedures used during fieldwork, including interview processes and choice of respondents. Chapters Five and Six detail findings from interview data. The division of interview data into these two chapt ers follows the lives in rural hometowns the reasons for their participation in migration and social networks that draw women towards cities and factory work Chapter Si x focuses on routines of factory work, relationships between women, their co workers and management, experiences of city life, and the outcomes of migration in terms of experiences of return. The concluding chapter reflects on the potential social and econ urban migration.


9 Chapter Two This chapter introduces the broader setting for this research, including both national and regional cha over the extent to which China can be classified as a socialist or capitalist economy. In the process, it outline s broader national planning policies and consequent regional differentiations i Within existing studies, the Chinese economic model is often described either as Onli ne ). Alongside, economic scholars, writing both within China as well as within the Western academy (e.g. Huang 2008; Karmel 1994), point to the Chinese economic model as a hybrid; namely, accommodating characteristics of both capitalist markets and social ist planning (e.g. Burkett and Hart Landsberg 2004, Breslin 2004,Tang 1998) thus


10 arguing that it should be considered 'Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics'. Here, researchers try to understand the Chinese hybrid model through the prism of comparisons with European, American, and Japanese economic models (Redding 1996). This section The argument is h challenge. Second, it analyses the problems that also attach to academic discussions of 'Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics'. Third, it concludes with a critique of a pu rely Throughout its ot accurately describe economic changes within the country. A number of studies have dealt with this dichotomy between state rhetoric and actual economic changes. Accordingly, researchers who have placed China in the capitalist economic system facilitated by the political communist regime have challenged the assumption that the Chinese economy follows a socialist model (Burkett 2005; Breslin 2004; Tang 1998). According to Breslin (2004), when Deng Xiaoping promoted economic reforms he used ideas about marke t and planning to show that the differences between the two in both capitalist and socialist economic systems are actually more blurred than clear cut. Following Deng's push for the maintaining of capitalist market practices, the Chinese government defined People's Republic constitution reflects this change and states that,


11 The state owned economy, i.e. the socialist economy with ownership by the people as a whole, is the leading force in t he national economy. The state will ensure the consolidation and development to the state owned economy (Breslin 2004, 7,8). National Congress 2007). Hence, Deng defended his view in the following way: The fundamental difference between socialism and capitalism does not lie in the question of whether the planning mechanism or the m arket mechanism plays a larger role. [The] planned economy does not equal socialism, because planning also exists in capitalism; neither does [the] market economy equal capitalism, because the market also exists in socialism. Both planning and market are j ust economic means (Breslin 2004, 7) Bresli n (2004) remarked that many neo liberal researchers view China as a highly controlled market with a greatly pronounced role of the government in the economy (21). In effect, however, the Chinese government furthe r liberalized the market and since 2002 the Party accepted entrepreneurs from the private sector into its ranks as a so called 'advancement element' (Breslin 20) even as political power remained in the hands of the


12 Communist Party, including revolutionary elders, military leaders, and members of the Central Committee (Shirk 1993, 10). Magdoff and Foster (2004) have pointed out the downfalls of the current marketization in China: The ideological struggle that takes place is linked with differences over the rate and direction of growth. Unfortunately, growth in itself is the deity worshipped by what purpose? For whose benefit? Should the growth be geared toward satisfying the d esires of intellectuals, managers, business owners, and the bureaucratic political groups and classes? Or should that direction of growth be oriented towards improving living standards and quality of life for the mass of the people? Similar concerns abo ut promoting economic growth as the main goal of the party and abandoning (or lessening) of the social protection and social development for the people were raised by Russian Proletarskaya Gazeta 1 In the view of Proletarskaya Gazeta the Chinese governmen t uses the communist ideology to pave the way for capitalism. Thus, it states that, As their ideological idol, at the present time the Chinese revisionists are propagating Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese Gorbachev. The Chinese revisionists, covering themselves with Marxist phraseology about the building of 'socialism 1 Proletarskaya Gazeta is a publication backed by Russian Marxist Leninist movement.


13 with Chinese characteristics' and with superficial Communist attributes, are building a savage capitalism based on the brutal exploitation of the Chinese proletariat. This revisionist lie political ly disorients the oppressed masses and holds in check the process of class ripening of the proletariat (Proletarskaya Gazeta 2003,1). Therefore, according to the Gazeta, the Chinese government follows a Western capitalist economic model, while socialist agenda has no practical influence over the correctly depict Chinese economic model. In some studies, the Chinese economy emerges as a specific case of capitalism, with capit alism itself understood not as a fixed economic entity but as context specific economic process. Thus, Walker and Buck (2007) explained the relationship between capitalism and China in the following way, 'Like a virus, capitalism cannot survive without liv ing hosts, whose DNA it alters in order to 40). In this understanding, capitalism does not exist in its pure form anywhere, and instead of being a clear economic mode of production or point of destination, it remains a process set in a parti cular place. In the case of China, not only is the economic system by and large capitalist, but it can be better executed due to the political system that allows the state to take on paternalistic role, allowing for the exploitation of its citizens (Magdof f and Bellamy Foster. 2004). Huang 2008; Karmel 199 4). For instance, Karmel (1994) ation of public, semi


14 public and private management, with decentralized distribution of responsibilities profits and rewards (1120). In similar vein, other scholars evaluate the Chinese economy as a ho wever provides an insightful criticism of Harvey's (2005) viewpoint of the Chinese economy as a abnormal capitalist outcome has been a particular kind of neoliberalism inte r digitated with authoritarian First, Wu seeks to portray Chinese system as operating within the neoliberalisation model. Second, he proposes rethinking of the presuppos ed 'authoritarian control' over the economy and state in China. In his view, neoliberalisation may encourage the consolidation of power (Wu 2008, 1093). perspective of the conso lidation of political power by the Chinese government. According to Wu, the promotion of economic growth actually legitimized the CCP's power, since it showed to the about economic issues, its leadership in promoting changes, and its concern about China's performance on the international market (1093). Similarly, Breslin states that '[...] Chinese Marxism had always been as much about China as it was about Marxism, and as many commentators have noted, nati onalism remains an important element of the CCP's Further, Wu analyzes the pre reform socialist market economy in China in terms of the recessionary tendencies of the contemporary cycle of capitalism. He ascribes the emergence of the crisis as a result of over accumulation. Although the socialist


15 economies are often viewed as having shortages, in this case, Wu maintains that there were some parts of the economy that could be described as leading to ove r accumulation, Because of the effective concentration of capital by the state apparatus, labor reproduction had to be achieved without 'the principle of equal exchange', which had to be achieved through a 'welfare state' regime (the so called redistribut ive state). In state socialism, effective accumulation supported by state led extensive 1094). Hence, according to Wu, the state had a large pool of cheap labor, and no effective way of using the productive p ower of its workers in the most efficient way. Wu compares the economic crisis that followed over accumulation and led to post socialist transition in China as similar to the post Fordist transitions experienced in the West. As a result, since the reforms China maintains its cheap and numerous labor force and encourages workers to participate in the private sector economy (1094). Alongside, Wu (2008) challenges the idea that China is an authoritarian state. He views the Chinese state in terms of hegemonic power, specifically the political process through which the government is able to justify its power to the society. Moreover, Wu describes Chinese society as culturally 'totalitarian' in the sense that there are no drastic divisions between the state and the society. Wu explains that in China there has been a 'patron client' relationship between the state and the society for centuries (1094). In Wu's was a totali


16 that it is through the economy that the Chinese government consolidates its power (1094 ). Wu also discusses the negative results of economic reforms. For example, the privatization of the housing market has led to the lack of affordable housing for middle and low income families, in particular in urban areas. Thus, cities are utilized to pr omote further economic neoliberalisation, specifically through speculation on the real estate market (1094). The increase in prices of health care, education, and housing has been 008, 1095)'. important to ask where the persistent interest in defining capitalism in China as es discourses that the current economic reforms in China are in keeping with the global economy, and thus the rhetoric of capitalism with Chinese characteristics 'may be little more than an invention of a new post 17). Further Dirlik (1996) explains this discourse in the following way, I use the term to highlight what may be a fundamental problem of exp lanation to invert, if you like, the cause effect relationships between Chinese characteristics and a Chinese capitalist, what have come to be identified as Chinese characteristics may be the effect of the development of a capitalism that has its source el sewhere, in the global economy. In other words, the discourse on


17 Chinese capitalism does not merely describe; more importantly it may be a discourse creating its object (18)'. Moreover, via literary and historical analysis, Dirlik ascribes the rise of th is term not to a discourse created by the Chinese people themselves, but rather to the discussion of U.S. scholars on possible Chinese/Confucian forms of capitalism. Thus, he links the creation of this term to the work of Kahn, Berger and Redding, MacFarqu har and Hofheinz, as well as Kotkin starting in late 1970s (Dirlik 1996, 19). These writers discussed the potential capitalist economic mode of production as supported by 'Chinese Confucian' values. These values are broadly understood as consisting of lo yalty and strong ties to the family, society, and government, and strong work ethics, meaning a commitment to education and work. In turn, the Chinese people themselves took on the image of a superior worker and citizen and recreated discourses on traditio nal Chinese values to fit in the currently promoted capitalist economic model. As Dirlik explains further, this in turn creates numerous contradictions. but also suppresses t he contradictions that are quite evidently visible in the discussions on Chinese capitalism. Like all ethnic essentializations, the discourse on Chinese capitalism suppresses the class and gender differentiations, and even ethnic differences, among the peo ple encompassed within it. Chinese exploiting the surplus labor of other Chinese by taking advantage of oppressive labor regulations (as in the special economic zones of the People's Republic of China)


18 or the vulnerability of illegal immigrants (as in Chin atowns, USA) is dissolved into the discourse of Chinese capitalism through the vocabulary of cultural traditions. So is the exploitation of young women who make up the majority of the labor force in special economic zones, whose bodies contribute significa ntly to the accumulation of capital through oppressive conditions of factory 27) primarily used i n order to avoid discussions of capitalist enterprises in China. In addition, goals of economic growth, so that economic policies have to be understood as subordinating commitments to social goals. This is not altogether a voluntary decision. The Chinese government through its collaboration with World Bank and other foreign agencies leav es itself vulnerable to such contradictory goals. The aim of Western the Chinese government seems to accede to the same objectives. However, in the process social pro tections from the state, such as education and health care, are rapidly becoming out of there are two important factors that contribute to the current direction and spatial distribution of economi c growth in China government policies, for example as they relate to internal migration of


19 people, and foreign direct investment, which provides pressure for more economic 008) argument that the Chinese economy should not be evaluated as if it was removed from global economic structures is valid, discussions of the Chinese system as simply capitalist (Wu 2008; Walker and Buck 2007) seem to ignore other economic structures be yond capitalism, such as household economies and to by their government; namely, the country or the city, the interior of China or the Coast; people found themselves to be winners or losers of the economic reforms. In turn, state policies tied to capitalist structures have created uneven development resulting in development in terms of national policies and their consequences for specific regions of China. Although different forms of central planning are present in many economies, even those that claim to be guided solely by the invisible hand of the free mar ket, in China decisions made by the central government have especially visible results. Thus, the division of the country into three macro regions of development had a great impact on regional economic outcomes, with spatial divisions of development also b ecoming apparent in the movement of people from poorer, interior regions to the richer coast. The contemporary economic and political situation has emerged in increments during reforms leading from a state planned to a market economy. Initial reforms were


20 set by the Third Plenum led by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, which made economic development a priority over communist ideologies (Breslin 2004; Cannon and Jenkins 1990). In 1997, the CCP set up four Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to promote joint ventures with f oreign companies (Cannon and Jenkins 1990). In 1981, the Chinese government accepted individual ownership as legal (Breslin 2004). In addition, from 1981 to 1985, the state abolished communes and introduced the Household Responsibility System (Cannon and Jenkins 1990). The Household Responsibility System is a new diversification system implemented in the countryside since the 1978 economic reforms in place of collectivization. Under this policy, a household can lease a parcel of land and in return has to p rovide the state with a quota of grain or crops. The household can then use the rented land towards their own enterprise, and any surplus agricultural production can be sold to the state or in private markets (Cannon and Jenkins 1990, 13). In 1984, the CC and Jenkins 1990), and set up Township and Village Enterprises in rural areas around cities (Christiansen. and Zhang 1998). Until 1994, the government protected urban jobs, especially in Sta te Owned Enterprises (SOEs) which systematically produced losses (Breslin 2004). This situation changed in 1995, when China joined World Trade Organization (WTO) (Breslin 2004; Solinger 2003), and then created the Company Law to downsize SOE operations (Br eslin 2004). development divisions. Since the late 1980s, the official party line changed from an injunctio n that provinces should be self sufficient to a policy that regions should develop


21 in accordance with their comparative advantage (Cannon and Jenkins 1990; Breslin 2004). Hence, the construction of Special Economic Z ones in the coast was a strategy to raints (Wang 1997, 4)'. The CCP explained this shift by pointing to the inequalities in outputs across the country (Breslin 2004; Jingzhi 1988). For example, Jingzhi (1988), an economic geographer from China, justifies it thus: Since 1949, accumulated inv estment has been evenly distributed over the country, but t he production levels of industry and agriculture vary greatly from region to region. One of the most fundamental problems relating to the distribution of production in China is the relationship bet ween the developed regions and the backward regions. Investment in different regions needs to be rationally appropriated and a balance achieved through careful planning. The gap in economic and technological levels, and in per capita income between the adv anced and backward regions needs to be closed. This is best achieved through the gradual modernizing influence of the advanced regions on the backward regions (Jingzhi 1988, 40 41). Consequently, CCP divided China into three macro regions, namely, Coastal Central, and Western (see Figure 1). In general, Coastal regions received support to develop their industries, trade, and tourism and to bring in foreign investment, hence leading to the setting up of SEZs (Cannon and Jenkins 1990). Central regions were put in charge of new technologies, providing energy (coal and electricity), and increasing


22 agricultural output (Cannon and Jenkins 1990; Jingzhi 1988). Western regions were to supply natural resources, develop transportation, and invest in education (Canno n and Jenkins1990). However, these divisions were not based entirely on geographical correspondence as much as they were a result of strategic military policies of the state (Cannon and Jenkins 1990, 28; Jingzhi 1988, 41 42). Moreover, these developmental divisions became deeper as provinces started competing over production and sales of their exports, to the point of setting up tariffs to control inflow of cheap raw materials (Cannon and Jenkins 1990, 46 47).


23 For exa economic policy were able to profit at the expense of other provinces. Cannon and Jenkins (1990) describe the situation thus: The most serious grievances leveled at Guangdong include those arising from its practice of buying raw materials or even finished goods from neighboring provinces with Chinese currency (Renminbi), then selling them abroad so that foreign currency earned never gets to the inland provinces. Since foreign exchange can be sold to those who will give more yuan than the official rate, Guangdong entrepreneurs can then afford to buy from their suppliers at higher rates, so cornering the market and boosting inflation (Cannon and Jenkins 1990, Still, according to Zhang and Wu (2009), even the coastal areas are '[f]acing intense competition inside and outside of the regions, [so that] local government has strengthened its ability to intervene in local economic development (18).' Thus local governments often resolve to consol idate and annex nearby administrative units in order to combat competition (ibid.) These recent economic changes in China had significant impacts on rural populations. For example, Breslin (2004) describes transformations in rural China as follows:


24 In the countryside, mechanization and the replacement of collective socialist motivations with private and profit motivations resulted in the loss of an average of six million workers a year in the 1990s. It is widely accepted that around 120 million rural worke rs are without work for most of the year, though a figure nearer 200 million has been mentioned in private in interviews. One of the consequences of this increased rural unemployment is the growth in migration both state sanctioned and supported, and ille gal (Breslin 2004, 3). The most economically disadvantaged population lives in rural areas of the country. Thus Wang (1997) estimates that '[m]ore than 487.68 million laborers live in the rural area, separated by strict hukou [household registration] syst em from the 217.8 million in the urban area (9).' In addition to restrictions on spatial mobility, new employment rules have followed the entry of foreign companies into the market creating difficult working conditions (Wang 1997, 3). The lack of worker pr otection rights, prohibition of independent unions, large unemployment numbers, and restriction on legalization of employment for rural workers, makes Chinese workers vulnerable to exploitation (8). As Wang describes it: The Chinese labor thus has a weak bargaining position versus the FDI employers. Consequently, there is clear lack of labor rights in FDI enterprises. Young and female workers are the most welcome labor for the primarily assembly line factories. Many managers frequently ask their female job applicants to be young


25 generally required as a part of application package (Wang 1997 8,9)' Women workers are especially subject to the drawbacks of limited worker rights, thus, a high percentage of women workers employed by foreign companies report experiencing sexual harassment. Moreover, women workers are fired more easily based on reasons having very little to do with job performance, but rather linked to their age, marital stat us, sickness, or pregnancy (Wang 1997, 9). A number of people however continue to support economic reforms despite such allegations. For example, in an interview with Becker (2004) Xie Shaoming, tannery owner from Xinji, a city located in Hebei Province a ssessed that 'thanks to the (Becker 2004, 93). Thus, on the one hand, the current economic agenda creates economic opportunities for many Chinese people; on the other, it lack s social development goals, such as health care and education. Burkett and Hart Landsberg (2005) summarized this trend in the following way: In sum, without denying the importance of naked class interest, the key dynamic driving China's transformation was the path dependent channeling of policy options into pro market, pro capitalist directions. The results were increasing alienation of economic priorities from grassroots needs and capabilities, and corrosion of the state's ability to plan and direct econo mic activity, both of which


26 only reinforced the growing dependence on markets, private enterprise, foreign capitals and exports (Burkett and Hart Landsberg 2005, 3)' From this broader context of economic reforms, the next section moves into a specific dis cussion of the economy of Hubei province, the case study for this research in gendered migration in China. Agriculture in Hubei Province Figure 2: Wuhan, Hubei P rovince


27 Accordi ng to 2000 Census Data, i t has a population of 59,508,870 (China Data Center. 2009). Hubei province is largely rural, with almost 60 percent of its residents registered in rural areas (China Data Center. 2009). The capital city of Wuhan, located along the Yangtze river in the eastern part of Hubei, is also the major industrial center of the province. The majo rity of people in Hubei province are Han, and most speak Mandarin, either northern or southern Mandarin (China Data Center. 2009; de Blij and Muller 20 02, 448). Since colonial times, and continuing into communist China, the province has been a major producer of agriculture and industry, and has been a transport and communications hub (Jingzhi 1998, 378). Currently, however, the agricultural sector is dec lining creating an underemployed workforce (Solinger 2001; Veeck et al. 2006). However, since the government promotes industrial growth in Hubei, the province receives rural migrants (Goldstein, Liang, and Goldstein 2000). Hubei has a humid climate which is, among other factors, a result of the many rivers crossing the region. Yangtze and its tributaries serve as a source of economic wealth and are an important link between the coast and the interior of China. Due to the Yangtze, Wuhan is a major inland p ort and recipient of goods from coastal areas. depth of the Chang [Yangtze] reduces the size of vessels that can reach Yichang. River boats carry coal, rice, building mate (455). The industrial boat traffic decreases once it reaches Wuhan, and tourist boats take over upstream of the city. Many Yangtze River cruises originate from either Wuhan or Yichang. Therefore, Hubei rivers help tourism, industry and agriculture. Cressey (1934)


28 Veeck et al. (2006) describe the Yangtze region as ngtze River) and its many tributaries and large lakes, most of the region is low lying, well watered, alluvial plain. Double cropping of winter wheat (or winter barley), rape, and rice is most common, although nonirrigated areas are given over to cotton, c orn, peanuts, and other dry land summer crops. Traditionally, the mean yields of all of these crops are the highest in China (216 217). While Hubei seems like a perfect place for agriculture, during recent years, many farmers have abandoned rice fields, a nd crop production has become economically less feasible (Veeck et al. 2006, 216 217). This is partly because farmers in the northern coastal areas have increased their rice production. For example, Veeck et al. (2006) state that: rrigated rice offers much greater returns than the traditional corn and spring wheat. So, despite potential water shortages and ecological damage in the future, rice production in the Northeast has exploded antage. Farmers here, even paying more for water, can generate much more income from rice, especially because imports of corn and soybeans from the United States and other nations (a result of post WTO economics) holds domestic prices for these crops down (212).


29 Veeck et al. attribute this to the development of new rice varieties that do not need southern climate (211). Thus, farmers in Hubei have decreased land allocated to rice production by approximately 551,000 acres (Veeck 2006, 212). Instead, farmers have switched production to fruits and vegetables or even herbs and grass seeds for higher profits (ibid.). Besides the growing of rice, farmers in Hubei also focus on livestock farming, including chicken, ducks, and geese (Jingzhi 1988, 282). In the last few years, cases of (2004), The province has also closed 133 poultry markets and vaccinated 22.47 million and it will take time for the province to recover, even given the unrelenting control work and the director of the Hubei Provincial Bureau of Agriculture]. However, for many farmers who only b reed several chicken and ducks in their houses for their own consumption, the has 168 birds, and the income from poultry breeding accounts for less than 5 per cent of the t of Yangxin County, which sees the latest bird flu case of Hubei on January 2. About 1,000 people of the 2,300 residents of his village have become migrant workers, whose income has b ecome the main money source of their families.


30 The decline of the agricultural and livestock economy has thus led to outmigration for agricultural work. For instance, rural workers migrate from Hubei to Xinjiang to pick cotton. A report in China Daily (20 05) describes the migration of Du Xingwu, a farm worker originally from Hubei, his effective management. He took charge of 48.5 mu (3.3 hectares) of cotton this year, which co uld bring in 30,000 to 40,000 Yuan (US $3,800 5,000) net income. When asked whether he missed his hometown, Du said he used to visit in 2002, which is quite impoverished and b said Du. However, migration does not ensure long term work. Eventually, these migrant workers are going to be laid and the report mentions th picking machines are ready to do their The situation with agriculture in Hubei province reflects widening rural urban gaps across China. Although, since the 1978 reforms the economic situat ion of many farm workers has improved, numerous peasants still live impoverished lives compared to their urban compatriots. According to an estimate published by the US China Business Council (2007),


31 Average annual rural incomes in 2006 rose 7.4 percent i n real terms to RMB 3,587 ($462) while average annual urban incomes, at RMB 11,759 ($1,514), rose 10.4 percent. China still has an estimated 120 million surplus rural laborers, many of whom are migrating to cities to look for work. To help alleviate rural poverty, China will establish a national system of subsistence allowances. At the end of 2005, China had 23.7 million rural poor defined as living on less than RMB 683 ($88) a year. Unlike urban residents, few rural residents have received subsidized hea lthcare or education, and only a small percentage participates in pension systems. The government is trying to address these issues. Since 2006, rural children in western China have been entitled to free education for nine years; this will be extended to t he rest of the country in the next few years (US China Business Council 2007) According to Hubei Basic Data, an information source maintained by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), in 2000 the average GDP per capita for Hubei was 7,188 Yuan. At the same time, however, the per capita income of peasants was only 2,930 Yuan. Similarly, the consumption level amongst peasants was 1,760 Yuan whereas in cities and towns it was 5,719 Yuan. It has been argued that t his situation could be changed if agricultural processing was also province could gain an added value of 100 billion yuan (US $12.1 million) from processing the crops it


32 Another issue of concern to rural populations is tax burdens. Since 1958, Chinese peasants had to pay a separate agricultural tax. However, Chinese Congress decided to abandon the tax beginning in 2006. On an online blog discussing taxation issu es in the U.S. and internationally, Chamberlain (2006) explains the importance of the lifting of The repealed agriculture tax was similar to a modern property tax. It was a lump sum fee paid by farmers based on the amount of cultivated land and number of family members. And as with property taxes, the tax was widely perceived as unfair, for two reasons. First, the amount of tax was based on a proxy for grain production not income, forcing farmers to bear the same tax burden b oth in incomes. While the average agricultural tax amounted to just $36 per family, around $242 (nearly 15 percent). Until recently, China has operated parallel tax systems for urban and rural taxpayers. One of the goals in repealing the agricultural tax is to unify the tax system and simplify tax rules. This tax reform was necessary. In Hubei prov ince, as well as many other provinces, the situation of farmers was worrying. In 2002, Hubei was the site of a swallowing poison last year due to unbearable pressure from lo cal officials for various Nevertheless, while farmers in Hubei province no longer


33 have to pay the agricultural tax, they still have to secure medical care and education by themselves, while people living in urban areas can enjo y free education for their children counterparts in the city. However, the Chinese government keeps investing in coastal cities, progressing slowly towards reforms in the countryside. In the words of Veeck et al. (2006), Farmers living near the east coast are more sophisticated than those in the rest of export crops and products. As a conse quence, farmers living in proximity to large cities or within the coastal provinces have the highest rural incomes, while the more remote, less commercialized, interior provinces report the lowest incomes. In this sense, the inequity of space plays out in yet another way in the contemporary Chinese landscape with higher rural incomes in coastal areas (226). Industry in Wuhan City and Hubei Province Wuhan, as mentioned earlier, is one of the most prominent industrial cities in China (Jingzhi 1998). Due to its location along the Yangtze river, the city has a comparative advantage in terms of transportation. According to Jingzhi (1998), Wuhan 379). As a large


34 as a communication and transportation hu b, Wuhan is situated on the middle reaches of the Chang Jiang [Yangtze] at the junction of the addition, the Beijing Guangzhou rail line and the Wuhan Daye and Hankou Danjian transport hubs. Wuhan forms the center of the roads network in Hubei province and is linked by air with many other large cities throughout the country (Jingzhi 1998, 378). After the e Solinger (2003) describes job losses in Wuhan thus, Wuhan, an old heavy industry base in the heartland of China, admittedly has been harder hit by lay offs than areas along the coast wh ere light industry predominates, where foreign investment is much greater and where local revenues are far higher (62). Despite this closure of many factories, Wuhan has tried to promote itself to foreign and domestic investors as a site of booming indust ry with potential for economic growth


35 Morgan Stanley economist Andy Xie wrote recently t hat Wuhan has the potential to become next Shanghai arguing that the city could take off in the next few years. Mr. Xie says that if Shanghai becomes too expensive, Wuhan could be an important alternative for foreign investors looking for a new place to pu t down capital. Citroen, Budweiser, Philips, Coca Mr. Xie says Wuhan has a number of advantages. One, it has 35 higher education institutions, ranking third in science and education just behind Beijing and Shanghai, whi ch means investors can pick from a pool of well trained workers and technicians. Second, its industrial base has become more relevant to the especially strong in iron and ste largest steel producer), automobile manufacturing, shipbuilding, machinery, scientific instruments, textiles, chemicals, and food processing. Third, Wuhan is just 15 hours from Shanghai ports by truck, and the a dditional cost of shipping from here is negligible (8 9). Yet, Wuhan does not have economic subsides and exemptions to offer to foreign investors equal to those in Shanghai, since it has not been officially designated as an SEZ (Jingzhi 1998). The exagger ated promotion of Wuhan as a foreign investment destination shipping costs is not clear, and the ways in which it compares to Shanghai is glossed


36 over. An official go vernment website describes the flourishing foreign investment, or in some cases preparation for investment, in Hubei province as follows: More than 8,000 foreign enterprises have been established with the approval of the provincial government, together wi th over 400 representative offices. 120 out of the top 500 transnational companies have come to Hubei to observe the investment feasibility, among which 50 have set up either enterprises or offices in France is one of the biggest forei gn investors in Hubei province. A report on CN (2004 b) notes that French businesses have so far invested about U.S. $2.3 billion in Wuhan, and this comprises 33% of the total French investment in China. While Wuhan cannot facilitate concessions available in SEZs (Jingzhi 1998, 379), it does offer access to a variety of heavy and light industry jobs. Partly, due to its location on the Yangtze River, Wuhan has access to transportation networks, which has led to industrialization in the city (Jingzhi 1988). The surplus labor force created by the decline of agricultural opportunities in Hubei province is thus attracted to the increased economic opportunities available in urban areas like Wuhan. The declining agricultural economy of rural Hubei province thus p rovides a contrast with the relatively secure industrial growth in the city of Wuhan. This economic difference also becomes important because Wuhan emerges here as an alternative to more long distance internal migration towards southern China. Migration ho wever is not merely structured by spatial differences, but is also linked to the identities of migrants


37 development by focusing on the ways in which women have been specifically represented in studies of internal migration.


38 Chapter Three Gender and Migration: Linking Economy, Society and Space This chapter surveys pertinent literature on internal migration in China as well as considers broader theories related to gender ide ntities. It is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on explanations for migration, in particular questioning the division of reasons for migration into economic and social categories. The second section elaborates on the particular role o f space and scale in studies of gender and migration. Economic and Social Components three ways. First, increase in migration is viewed as resulting from agricultural decoll ectivisation and the introduction of the household responsibility system. Within this view, increasing efficiencies of production on farms has simultaneously produced surplus labor which has been forced to look for alternative employment (Wong, Li, and Son g 2007). Second, industrial restructuring and improved economic opportunities in coastal areas has attracted migrants to urban areas (Wong, Li, and Song 2007). Related to this industrial restructuring are the recruitment practices of companies that target specific kinds of workers (Lee 1998). A third set of reasons identified by studies are the beneficial


39 social opportunities (e.g. marriage, increased personal freedom, social networks) that are connected to migration (Lee 1998; Goldstein, Liang, and Goldste in 2000). These reasons are in turn structured by the state through the household registration system, and regional differences in development that have been installed through deliberate state policy. As already discussed in Chapter 2 (16 17) in terms of regional differences, Coastal, Central, and Western Regions were created by the government and presented in the Seventh Five Year plan to secure control over capitalist development as well as to use regional comparative advantage for technologically advanc ed industrial production, increased agricultural production, and utilization of natural resources (Cannon and Jenkins 1990, 40 42). These regional divisions have led to a concentration of wealth in coastal provinces, so that people are currently migrating out of non coastal provinces at higher rates than ever before, and economic differences between provinces continue to amplify (Fan 2005). By international standards, the rural urban income gap is large in China, and Sicular et al. (2007) find that even aft er adjustments for cost of living and varied sources of income, the inequalities between urban and rural areas remain substantial. It is not just state policies that structure migration patterns. Studies have also been conducted on the social characteristi cs, such as education and gender, of those who (1999) determined that male workers are more likely to migrate than female workers, unmarried people more likely than married people, and younger workers more likely than older workers. More specifically, the study sought to examine the link between schooling and decision to migrate, and concluded that while the choice to migrate was not


40 significantly related to level of schoolin g, yet schooling was one of the factors influencing permanent migration. In a study of Hubei province, Goldstein, Liang, and Goldstein (2000) provide an overview of differences between men and women migrants, focusing in part on satisfaction with outcome o f migration. According to their study, women who moved to the city independently of their families and were able to set up their business experienced greater satisfaction about positive change in their financial status than those women who officially moved to the city to join their family or husband (228). In a comprehensive analysis of national census data from China, He and Gober (2003) begin by describing male female differences in reasons for migration. According to them, men are more likely to migrate towards industry and business, whereas women are more likely to cite marriage as a reason for their migration (1228). However, in their modeling of migration flows, such gender differences do not emerge as strongly. Thus, even as their study found that for eign direct investment structured the flow of male migrants, female migrants were drawn towards township and village enterprises situated in the urban rural periphery, a glance at the actual maps suggests that both male and female workers are moving toward s economic opportunities in coastal regions (1235). As He and Gober conclude, this shows that the strong link presented earlier between women and marriage related migration needs to be questioned. Thus, female migrants can also be said to respond to econom ic growth (1243). He and Gober thus cite concerns about the to conceal economic reasons (1245 reflect traditional and a ccepted gender roles or real motivations is unclear to us at this


41 time. Economic considerations may be hidden under the guise of social migration as in 1246). This points towards the need for further research to reveal decisions to migrate. comparison of joint ventures and state owned enterprises in Beijing focuses on human resourc e management issues, including hiring practices, in these companies, and show how they have become more formal and strict since the 1978 economic reforms (38 39). This means that the recruitment of workers is being increasingly controlled by factory manage ment, and, in terms of my research, points to the significance of focusing on recruitment for an understanding of migration. However, in China, business recruitment practices do not operate by themselves, but are linked to existing structures of social net works. 2 took place when potential migrants learned of new employment opportunities through fr an SEZ in Guangdong province, describes how young women escaped without parental consent through the help of locals who promised them urban employment (78, 84). One of the aims of my research is to link such understandings of social networks and migration with the formal recruitment practices of urban factories. I seek therefore to provide a balanced overview of the role of social practices and management practices in 2 Social relationships in China are go been extensively studied to gain insights into the differences between Western and Chinese business practices. For an understanding of such differences, see Selmer (2002).


42 e xisting analyses of migration. Another important consequence of migration is the ways in which it changes the status of migrants in their communities of origin, which brings us to the role of return migration in understanding the outcomes of migration for women. For instance, in a study conducted in India, Gidwani and Sivaramakrishnan (2003) find that low caste male community members enhance their status in villages through participation in migration. Thus, the ability to display knowledge of urban culture enables previously powerless members to challenge ideas of powerful members of the community and modify social relations in their communities of origin. Similar results are likely to be obtained in the case of women migrants in China. In a study of migrati on patterns originating from Sichuan and Anhui provinces, Fan (2004b) shows that women migrants contribute substantially to the well being of their households (187). This suggests that migration is a pathway for women to raise their status within their nat ive communities, in contrast to existing anthropological accounts which often emphasize sons as a principal source of power for women (Wolf 1972). In my research, I will therefore consider actual or potential experiences of the return of women migrants to their native villages. Thus, economic and social reasons for migration need to be bridged in order to provide a more thorough analysis of migration in China, and this is one of the principal aims of the proposed research.


43 Spaces and Scales Feminist geo graphers have been prominent in the study of migration, linking gender identities to spaces and scales of economic development. A prominent theoretical understanding has be en provided by Massey (Massey 2005 Anderson 2008) who argues that since the global economy is constructed across many scales, processes of production and consumption should also be analyzed across scales, from transnational to local. For Massey, places are always under construction, their social and physical fabric always changing (228). Alongside, people can use the same space differently. While powerful actors are able to expand their mobility and distribute it in general, less powerful actors remain relatively immobile thus reinforcing current power structures (150). In other words, th e same space is a plane of exclusion or access to different groups of people. (Anderson 2008, 228). Nagar et al. (2002) have identified and reviewed current discussions related to gender, globalization and development. The emphasis in their article is on t he need for a grounded approach to mend disconnects between the structural of the economic studies starts from the lives of a variety of people with diverse relation ships to globalization, including unorganized workers, undocumented immigrants, and those who are not The authors argue that existing studies often focus on formal networks, and large scale economies, national as well as multinational/transnational. However, since capitalist


44 structures are also supported by informal economies (260), in particular those at household level, Nagar et al. (2002) maintain that, Gender is central to the operation of this subsidy. First, as profitability crises encourage restructuring, a series of spatial shifts (from factory to sweat shop to home) and ideological shifts (from family wage work to poorly paid feminized work) cheapen production costs for global investors and producers (261 ). In other words, capitalist profit is subsidized by the social construction of gender assessment, ties, the poor, and southern places in ways that constitute globalization as dominant. Images of passive women and places (frequently southern, but also deindustrialized places in the north) are constructed and simultaneously serve to construct discourses of globalization as capitalist, as Western centric, and as the 263). However, Nagar et al. (2002) point out that the outcomes of globalization can be contradictory for women, as they may often be subjec ted to exploitation but simultaneously also experience improved social opportunities. For instance, they observe


45 Nagar et al. (2002) also argue that globalization doe s not just happen to women; on the contrary, women often shape globalization, for instance through non governmental organizations or community organizing. There is a need therefore to identify the creation and re ctivities. Therefore, studies need to transformation of particular historical circumstances as different places are drawn into the social relations of globalization in d gendered global processes in terms of both Western and non Western subjects. literature dealing with migration theory. Sh e focused on three aspects of migration studies: scale, place and identity, and borders; her argument being that spatial theories and methodologies should be adopted to deepen our understandings of migration. Silvey points out the advantages of a geographi cal understanding: spatiality can enrich interdisciplinary approaches to the study of gender and migration. Scholars from other disciplines may build on the work reviewed here logics and implicit geographic theorizations. Silvey begins by showing how early work on migration and scale was skewed towards supporting colonial expansion. Lat er work on scale by Western scholars (e.g. Ravenstein 1976) sought to develop a unified migration theory that specifically


46 constructed non Western women migrants as irrelevant to migration on national and international scales, thus lowering the importance of urban and household scales. However, feminist studies that sought to critique this appro a ch were also limited in that emancipating women. These studies thus excluded those wom en for whom homes and neighborhoods were in fact spaces of liberation while spaces beyond their neighborhoods mainly functioned as centers of discrimination and exploitation (Silvey 67 69). Silvey reviews work on place and identity to argue that At the c enter of this work is attention to the roles that gender and other social differences play in shaping unequal geographies of mobility, belonging, exclusion, and displacement. Feminist migration studies pivot around understanding the social and spatial dime nsions of mobility associated with now axiomatically gender, citizenship, race, class, nation, sexuality, caste, religion, and disability (65) The feminist approach to migration reveals the power structures behind peoples movement and the construction of identity of groups that fit in or are excluded from different places, unraveling variations in constructing gender, race, class, and ethnic identities (70). Consequently, Silvey states that, These arguments revolve most generally around the question o f who has the power to define a place as accessible to whom, how various social groups


47 experience places as inclusive or exclusive of them and others, and how the regulation of space reflects and reinforces the privileges and interests of some groups over others (Silvey 2006, 70) Silvey also examines migration scholarship that focuses on borders. In particular, she finds that, Most conventional migration scholarship in geography implicitly conceptualizes borders as empirical delineations across which to measure and define migration investigation and examine the socially specific processes tied to their development (72) Thus, feminist migration studies enables the questioning of how borders are constructed through migration rather than treating borders as already existing natural entities. A more explicit urban work is provided by Kelly (2002). The aim of his study is to identify multiple levels of spatialized labor control. He introduces the topic by reviewing current labor control theories, not just in terms of organized labor, but also spatial, social, cultural, familial and gendered contexts surrounding the negotiat ions of conditions of labor. Kelly follows four main approaches to understanding labor control. First, he engaged in the analysis of workplaces and the ways in which this space used to produce and reproduce worker employer power relations. Second, he analy zes the global level of labor control


48 within which capital chooses the cheapest and most docile workforce, therefore encouraging states to engage in processes leading to creation of such labor. Third, he deals with the issue of scale; namely, the scale at which unions should or should not operate and how this is regulated by both factories and the state. Fourth, he seeks to understand the construction of familial and gendered processes of labor control. provides three case studies of gender and labo r control comparing Penang state (Malaysia), Batam Island (Indonesia) and Cavite and Laguna provinces (the Philippines) His comparisons reveal that labor control may not necessary be negotiated only through unions but also at the individual level, and tha t the agendas of both workers and employees are informed not just by company and state policies, but also by ethnic background, nationality, and migration status of workers. According to Kelly, the silencing of local unions is achieved not just in terms of atomizing local labor through specific channeling of labor disputes at the workplace, but also through the hiring of migrant workers. factories in southern China shows how connectio ns are made between gender and an organizing principle for class relations at the point of production, and workplace as a site for gender construction, formation, and documenting the use of gender construction as a means of control and resistance. In her analysis, management assigned specific gender qualities to workers in order to maximize the production process and implement or adjust specific factory policies. Such gender


49 constructions also vary across factories, and Lee demonstrates that these differ even when the two factories belong to the same parent company. In her case, the factories were owned by the same company Liton but the factory in Hong Kong utilized management philosophies adjust to the spatial and social contexts in which they function. Alongside, this research seeks to link the specific case study and the wider realm of migration theory in terms of Bura method that is also utilized by Lee (1998). She describes it as follows: tes, economies and the like tying the social situation to its determining context, the researcher seeks to constitute the case at hand as anomalous with regard to existing th eories so as to China, especially through connecting social and economic reasons for migration. Wright (2003) provides a simi lar analysis of how different management styles are arrived at in different spaces through constructions of cultural and gender identities. Thus, she explains that,


50 Sure we know that workers around the world are indeed facing more work in return for less remuneration, and we know that women still earn a pittance, as they have for decades, on assembly lines of multinational firms. But to know these things is not to know how this pattern is constantly recreated across the diverse terrain that is global capit alism (300). Comparing discourses on migrant women workers in Mexico and Southern China ( Dongguan ) she reveals how the construction of migrant identities is aimed at improving ed to feminist economic theories, so that demonstrated, to understand the changing geographies of capitalism, we must interrogate how this system materializes through different configura tions of social categories, such as gender and cultural identity (292). Wright reveals how the Hong Kong Chinese managers located in Dongguan struggle for power with their American counterparts and in order to gain more control over the company aim for be tter control over their workers. In order to retain good workers at the peak of their physical fitness and remove less productive workers, they construct their daught


51 b ilities inside and outside of the factory and installing forced illness/injury and pregnancy check ups. Ultimately, management of the Chinese factory was able to outperform American executives operating in Mexico due to stricter control over labor. Hong Kong managers explained their success in terms of better understandings of Chinese culture, specifically nd the imposition of work values was able to connect the cultural construction of migrant workers as valuable to capitalist production. Other studies of migrant women workers focus on consumption in order to provide analysis their experiences of urban life. Thus, a valuable study was provided by Sun (2008) who followed domestic workers in Beijing and examined their consumption within urban space. Thus, Sun observes that migrant women do not necessary have to buy products in order to connec t with the urban lifestyle. Their consumption can be virtual or they may participate in consumer experience by refusing to buy products. For example, migrant women prefer browsing goods in supermarket in order to see the newest products and enjoy anonymity provided by the supermarket. Feminist geographic understandings of migration have thus documented the critical role played by spatial strategies of labor control in ensuring the const ruction of migrant women as a disciplined workforce and the ways in which such strategies though migration are shaped by such conditions of work, but also include migrant lo cations between rural origins and urban destinations. Before delving into the ways in which


52 women factory workers in Wuhan provide a less constrained understanding of migrant women, the next chapter outlines the methods utilized to approach women as partic ipants in this research.


53 Chapter Four This research is designed as a micro level study and seeks to understand the experiences of women migrants through privileging their own perspectives. This chapter focuses on the theor etical underpinnings of this research as well as on the specific experiences of rural to urban migration. It is divided into six sections, the first three providing a broad overv iew of the research design and the remaining detailing the specific experiences of fieldwork. The first section of this chapter introduces the broad theoretical frameworks that have shaped my approach to women as subjects of research. The next section furt studies of migration. The third section describes specific procedures used during fieldwork as well as introduces problems of positionality connected to this study. The remainder of this ch apter describes the processes through which I was enabled to conduct this research, the case studies utilized in this research, and provides an overall introduction to the interview subjects that participated in this research.


54 Postmodern, Poststructural and Feminist Frameworks Most studies on internal migration in China, including some utilized in this provincial scale, and draw on quantitative data related to migration and dev elopment from the Chinese census. In the process, they use statistical data and models to analyze and predict migration and development patterns (Fan 2005, 1996; He and Gober 2003; Rozelle et al. 2002; Liang 2001; Wang 2001). Even as such quantitative anal ysis are useful for providing evidence regarding broad trends in migration, they are likely to miss unregistered female migrants. This is because quantitative analysis operates on data gathered on the basis of questions compliant with migration policies of the Chinese government. Moreover, the voices of women migrants, and migrants in general, remain absent in such generalized overviews. Given this, the qualitative method was chosen as best suited for th is study of women migrants. My utilization of qualitat ive methods is also linked to the grounding of this study in postmodern, poststructural, and feminist theoretical frameworks. Postmodernism and poststructuralism support non universal approaches instead of grand theories, and thus are attentive to a divers ity of viewpoints ( Johnston 1979, 269). Postmodern theory also questions intellectual stratifications which divides knowledge into inferior and superior forms (Peet 1998, 195). For the purposes of this research, postmodern theory will be used to focus on i ssues of cultural and social identity, poststructural theory to focus on the economy, and feminist theory to focus on gender issues. These theoretical frameworks


55 will enable analysis to proceed in four kinds of ways. The combination of postmodern, poststru ctural, and feminist theories will assist in discussions of political economy as it relates to gender, instead of exclusively privileging class identity as occurs within Marxist approaches. Postmodernism and Marxism share the same ideas about controlling a category of people through institutions, knowledge, and ideas. However, Marxism privileges class based forms of struggle, and provides a prescriptive theory that argues that once the working class gains control over the means of production, social conflic t will come to an end. In the Marxist view, identities like gender and race thus become irrelevant. Conversely, I believe that non class identities are relevant and important. Even if workers control the means of production, gender and race inequalities wo uld not necessarily cease to exist, because this has been the case throughout most of history, under different economic systems, and in many places. Furthermore, using poststructural and feminist approaches to political economy, I propose to look into dif ferent economic and social systems. Marxist researchers usually view Chinese internal migration only from the perspective of one prevailing economic system; namely, capitalism (Harvey 2003). Instead, I agree with J.K. Gibson (1996) view that the a nalysis of economy only in terms of capitalism is limited, and that we should discuss society as existing within many economic systems operating at the same time. In this way, an individual can play different economic roles. For example, a woman may be an owner of a small enterprise, but at the same time, at home, she may work without compensation for her husband under feudal economic conditions. Economic systems that have to be viewed as coexisting and intertwined networks between, for instance, multinatio nal corporations, factory workers, indigenous systems of


56 exchange, and household economies. Therefore, my aim is to understand the complexities of economic identity. Thus, postmodern and poststructural theoretical frameworks will allow me to challenge st rict notions of identity as it relates to migrant workers. Postmodernism stipulates that forms of identity and knowledge are socially constructed, historical, and fluid. Thus, instead of seeking to separate economic and social reasons for migration, I will consider how these reasons intertwine. I will also challenge the notion that rural and urban identities can be separated and instead consider how these place based identities link within the figure of the migrant. Postmodern feminist theory also becomes i mportant in questioning presupposed differences between the motivations of migration for women and men. Therefore, feminist studies informed by postmodern and post structural theoretical frameworks can question current gendered discourses on migration. My research seeks to ask Chinese women about their specific experiences of migration. I want to avoid portraying Chinese women only as victims of the capitalist process and a non democratic government, but also to represent them as independent decision makers (Jacka 2004; Hew 2003; Lee 1998). Therefore, I am going to ask the women to characterize their own experiences and draw my ideas of migration from there. To illustrate, let us consider these two different portrayals of women migrant workers provided by Be ynon (2004) and Jacka (2004) respectively. Beynon describes migrant women as follows: The accounts and feelings of migrant women in Chengdu [capital city of Sichuan province] outlined here point to the impact of migration on their


57 attitudes toward and exp ectations of marriage. Not only do they gain a sense of independence and value by working in the city, they also absorb new ideas on love and ideal relationships and critically examine the rural life of women (146). Thus, she depicts women as passive, who upon their entrance to the city learn how to above preexist migration, but whereas in the village women cannot freely express them, they can do so in the city enviro a desire for independence is not what young women acquire by being in the city, but rather the quality that they already possess and that provokes their migration. This is how Jacka writes about the first wave of migration of young women in the 1980s: To leave home and migrate to the city one had to be rebellious to go against dominant patriarchal understandings of the position of young women, and pursue individual self interest with great determi nation and persistence. Such a determination to rebel comes through very clearly in immediately by her sense that her parents did not understand her, by the desire to get out of the count ryside and away from a joyless, constricted life that her parents had led, and by a rejection of what other villagers understood was to be her future as a woman of a poor, low status rural family (176).


58 This quote represents Chinese women as negotiators of their future. I prefer the approach it embodies because here Chinese women are portrayed as active agents shaping their lives. My aim is to enhance existing perspectives on migration by focusing on the influence of gender relations and lo cal social networks operating between the countryside and the city. My broader methodological approach is mainly borrowed from studies conducted by Lawson (2000) and who are writing on construction of inist theory used in the study supports the notion relations embedded in mainstream notions of expertise and knowledge by bringing in the role of experiences. Postmoderni sts and poststructuralists are concerned with the ways in which discourses facilitate or restrain power, so that knowledge cannot be ideal or whole (Johnston 1979, 280 282). In this vein, Lawson (2000) through the stories of rural migrant workers in Ecuado rather than only through place based connections to either origins or destinations. Lawson proposes that current research on migration should be undertaken through qualitat ive methods, which seek better understandings of migration as discourse. An insight into migrant experiences reveals neo liberal processes, but also engages with


59 wor ds, transformations of their national spaces through globalization. Drawing on insights from transnational research, a series of interesting questions open up for internal migratio n research examining the places through which migrant and marginalization, and their contradictory experiences of the project of globalized modernization, urban progress and n ational belonging. (Lawson 2000; 176) work in export processing zones, they struggle with ch allenges to their own morality and perspectives on migration reveal diverse and contradictory social constructions of igrants in Ecuador are similar children, even though as migrants they also experience a lienation and prejudice that prohibits them from entering desired job markets. Accordingly, this particular group of migrants although disenchanted with thei r opportunities believes in neo liberalization


60 promises of better life under new market economy. Th of representation. Thus, Mohanty (1994) challenges feminist writers who portray women as if they are part of universal struggles and histories. She points out that in these univ ersal and undifferentiated narratives, non western women are represented as to an un successful struggle against patriarchal exploitation. Beijing, can be said to provide such depictions of migrant women as mainly victims of the migration process in China. Gaetano s concentrated in the most stigmatized occupations, whether domestic work, janitorial services, hotel and available to migrant women. Accor dingly, in her own article she describes a rural migrant woman working as a teacher for migrant children. Therefore, there is a mismatch powerless migrant women as opposed to documenting the various ways in which migrant women find themselves working in the city. This is not to say that Gaetano does not point out the complexities of migration outcomes; for instance, the cultural pressures of urban life, or the changing soc ial structures which enable access to independently chosen marriage partners. diversity of their perspectives, towards processes of migration and practices of work,


61 without prejudgi ng these as either leading to a uniform victimization or enabling an automatic freedom from conservative social mores. The next section focuses on the use possibilities and limitations of such face to face encounters. Interviews and Positionality This research is based on face to face, semi structured interviews with workers from three factories in Wuhan. The interviews were based on an open ended questionnaire and used to opinions of migration, More broadly, the interviews provided a sense of social relationships in rural contexts and how these transfer to urban contexts as the women move into factory work. I borrow m y understandings of qualitative survey and interview techniques from Fontana and Frey (2003) and Merton et al. (1956) who provide a comprehensive overview of the range of qualitative research procedures. An interview in essence is a conversation between tw o people, where the interviewer has to be a respectful listener to researcher has to reveal her/his bias, accept that the knowledge that s/he will produce will be partial, and be open to challenges (Fontana and Frey 2003). I conducted the interviews in as friendly an atmosphere as possible, without unnecessarily intruding on the privacy of my respondents. Participation in interviews was entirely voluntary. In addition, priva cy of participants was protected throughout the fieldwork and post fieldwork processes. All the names, including of participants, factories and hometowns, are pseudonyms and


62 cannot be used to identify specific people or places. The conduct of personal int erviews raises the issue of the relationship between the researcher and researched. The significance of the researcher being an insider or outsider to the community being studied, in terms of quality of research and access to information, has been a promin ent area of debate within feminist research (Abu Lughod 1993). It has been argued that the researcher should remain neutral during the interview. However, many researchers admit that the process of interview influences both the researcher and the participa nt, making it impossible for the study to be fully objective (Fontana and Frey 2003). I agree with the position that it is impossible not to be affected by the stories of others, and that this response is in fact an important part of being attentive to res pondents. I assumed that problems of my positionality will arise because of my identity as a Western woman. However, only a few of the participants were suspicious of me, and this was mainly due to two reasons. First, women approached for interviews sought to find out whether I was a journalist, especially since my research took place before the Olympics. Second, some expressed concern about whether my intent was to test cosmetics, because they had heard about cases of Westerners using Chinese people for un scrupulous laboratory research. Still, I found a connection with workers, besides that of my gender, based on my own experiences of migration, and most of all in terms of my age. Most of interviews are conducted with younger participants, since I felt comf ortable around them and they were more forthcoming to me than older participants. Many younger participants treated me in a friendly way after finding out that I was a student and expressed the willingness to help me.


63 Experiences with Interviewing During my previous visit to Wuhan, I had become acquainted with various faculty members and students at one of the local universities who were willing to assist with my research. This university was also the institution that I was affiliated with while I conduct ed research in Wuhan. In addition, my research assistant was a student there, at the time of the research. In order to provide an initial check of the relevance of my survey and interview questions, I submitted the questions for review to selected faculty members at the university, and repeated the same process of review with my research assistant as well as some of the workers who I interviewed, mainly at the beginning of the research. I did not do research on dairy companies as I had initially planned. Ap parently, the principal dairy multinational, Dewberry (pseudonym) had decided to leave Wuhan when I arrived The owner of another dairy company did not want to meet with me so I decided to ask my friends for ideas on how to meet women migrant workers. In the course of making these initial decisions, my research assistant, was especially helpful, also because she is from Wuhan and her friend, Jay, worked for an electronics factory. Although I hoped that I could do the study at Jay's factory, after I inquire d about the workers, he said only a few workers are women. It was decided that in order to include factories that employed more women, I needed to focus on textile industry. Following these conversations, I asked for help from yet another person, Mr. Wang, a doctora l candidate in social studies at the local university who had experience with similar kinds


64 of studies, would help me get acquainted with workers, and in essence would vouch for the integrity of my study. The process of finding women workers turn ed out to be easier than expected. Mr. Wang, my research assistant and I took a taxi to a northern part of Hankou. We met Lee my other acquaintance, in front of the park gate. We were soon in front of a factory and my colleagues spotted young women who c ame out of the factory gates, settling on the bench in front of the open factory gate. We began to talk about my research with the women, and they seemed agreeable to being interviewed. The very first interview I conducted was with Yang, who approached as one of my friends was talking to the workers about my study. Yang had a newspaper in her hand. She was dressed casually in shorts and T shirt. She asked me if it was me that wanted to do some interviews. I asked her when she would be available, and she sai d that right then would be great. I did not expect to do an interview because it was already getting dark. We were standing in front of the factory, on a walkway between the factory and a small square park. It was dusk, but the lamplights had not come on y et. Although it was evening, it was still hot and humid. I sat on a folder file I laid down on the sidewalk, and asked Yang and my assistant to sit on a bench. Through this arrangement, I was able to have a conversation face to face. I pulled out a recorde r, and I asked Yang if recording would be all right with her, and she agreed. We talked about my study. When we reviewed all the documents, she After the interview, we ta lked a bit about the research process. Yang had been a bit anxious at the beginning, but now she was relaxed and also happy that she could help me. We both felt that the interview went smoothly and Yang decided she would keep in


65 touch. She introduced me to her friends and we talked for a while. Off record, Yang and her friends told us that working for the factory had great financial benefits and that they were able to make even as much as 2100 a month. In addition, they were able to receive some training. Overall, workers who we met that day had a favorable attitude towards their job. They did not have overtime work that evening and we all exchanged phone numbers in case we could set up interviews for later. Afterward we picked two more factories where we approached workers for interviews. Since many workers wanted the company of their friend/s during the interviews, I soon share d my camera with the not get bored while I was talking with the participant That proved to be the most enjoyable for everyone, the pictures turned out to be fantastic, and the participants felt a sense of excitement connected to the interview process. Interviews were usually conducted in the park, but some of them were carried out in the worker bench in the park, however my research assistant has told me that it was better if we conduct ed interviews in public places, so workers would know that they could trust us, as w ell as feel safe in a familiar but open space. In general, there are always workers sitting in the park after 6 pm. From there, they have fast access to a small restaurant, canteen, bank, and a grocery store. Sometimes my interviews would be interrupted; for instance, if someone was passing by, I usually interrupted the interview myself so that the phone call. However, the most annoying enemy to my research, were mosqui toes. No one wanted to talk to us after 8 p.m. because of the number of mosquitoes that showed up.


66 Soon I started buying mosquito protecting cream, for participants and myself. Sometimes we would interrupt the interview and take a walk to stretch our legs. Sometimes the participants wanted an explanation about the relevance of the question to my study; usually they were curious about the importance of writing out daily activities of migrants in urban areas because it seemed strange to them that someone woul d want to know about their daily routine. Although from the literature (and common knowledge), I knew that factory personnel often worked overtime, t he actual connotations of this did not sink in until I began to conduct interviews. Thus, women were often busy in the evenings, and though many workers felt that chatting, eating, and shopping together was all right, many of them were apprehensive towards an hour long interview. Besides conducting interviews in the park or restaurant, some interviews were cond story brick building. In front of the door, there was an iron gate and the door was covered in metal. Both the gate and the door required several keys to open. All these precautions were there in order to prevent theft. Going into a narrow dark corridor reminded me of the dangers of fire in enclosed spaces a described by Enloe (2000, 168 171). Dormitories consisted of single staircases which led upstairs to rooms where workers and the man agement lived they shared, or there were bunk beds in some rooms. The only difference between living conditions of workers and the management was that the woman factory owner lived separately with her husband in her room, while workers shared their rooms. However, the conditions of the room were the same. Workers were slightly embarrassed by their living


67 conditions, but accommodated me in one of the rooms so I could have a bit of privacy during interviews. Since the door remained open, I did not pursue questions about conflict with management when I thought that there might be a chance of the factory owner passing by. However, the factory owner, a young woman, was always willing to accommodate m e for instance interviewed them. Still, she declined to be interviewed herself, only mentioning that it was hard to be in charge of her own factory. She was in her early thirtie s and used to work at a factory doing sewing work like my informants, before she saved enough money, got an investor, and gathered contacts with shops around the city to start up her own business. Thus, she was a role model for many young women whom I met, who like her wanted to some day have their own business. My research assistant helped me in numerous ways and was crucial to the conduct of interviews and translation and analysis of interview results. First, she always supported my aim to do this researc h even when the possibility of initiating it was bleak. She helped in choosing the field site and getting around the city. My interviews were conducted in Hubei province, and therefore required the use of Mandarin. During our drive on the bus, my research assistant would help me polish my Chinese pronunciation of different phrases and taught me new ones. She interpreted for me during the interviews, and whenever we would meet with participants casually after their work. Since verbal and non verbal communica tion are equally important in an interview, her translation would also help me understand the cultural nuances of the discussion


68 Describing the Factories Wuhan city is divided into three historical sections, namely Wuchang, Hanyang, future, urban planners seek to further develop Hankou to accommodate the service industry and financial industries, and build a main shopping and tourist area located along the bank of the Yang tze River amidst old colonial buildings; Wuchang will be developed through higher education institutions along with high tech companies to employ graduates (this area also contains a major tourist attraction, the Hung H Lu complex); Hanyang is already a site for heavy and light industries and will continue as such. A current concern for planners is lower levels of private factory ownership as compared to the Eastern part of the country. Within Wuhan, the municipal government has designated three economic zones (Graham 2004). 1. 2. Wuhan Economic Technology Development Zone: This accommodates an auto parts industry for Dongfeng Citroen Automobile Company. 3. Wuhan Wuji ashan Technology Development Zone: This encompasses food manufacturing and bioengineering. Major investors in this zone are food producing companies like Presidency Company from Taiwan and Danone Group from France.


69 In addition, there are other industrial e nterprises in Wuhan outside these three economic zone s Wuhan has been traditionally associated with textile production (Solinger 2003), and there are several textile factories owned by Chinese companies. Participants of this study came from three factorie s: Blue Jay, Abiu, and Chrysanthemum (all pseudonyms). Blue Jay, the government owned factory, had its own brand and produced for the local market. Abiu factory is privately operated by a group of owners, and functions as a subsidiary factory for other bra nds. At the time when I conducted my research, they produced for Chinese brands but the year before they produced for an international brand. Chrysanthemum was privately owned and produced for either its own shops, or shops that the owner had an agreement with located throughout Wuhan. Blue Jay f actory, was located in old brick large building. However, the windows on the second floor where the machines were located were large and let in a lot of light. In the evening you could see workers through the well l it windows There were two different steel gates leading into Abiu had the biggest building, but its windows were rather small, and the surroundings were also less gr een. A security guard was located in the security post in front of the gate. Chrysanthemum was the smallest factory, and rented space together with other manufacturers in a big industrial steel building.


70 Describing Interview Participants Figure 3: Par This thesis draws on interviews with 50 women. As shown in F igure 3, i nterviewed participants came from 1 6 small towns. The map shows the town nearest to the Fifteen of those towns were located in Hubei provin ce and one in Henan. Most interviewed workers came from farms on the outskirts of Zhangjiajie, Laitan, and Peitian. Zhangjiajie, located 44 kilometers from Wuhan, is a small town connected by a highway with Wuhan. The town itself has a major government bui ldings, a clinic, schools, paved roads, electricity, and some apartment buildings. Another town is


71 Laitan located about 125 kilometers from Wuhan, which in turn is located near a town with a newly built hospital, near a Provincial Road, apartment building s, and a railroad station. Small fields and vegetable paths surround villages around Laitan. Peitian ( 50.5 kilometers away) is located near a town with newly built apartment complexes and roads, surrounded by small villages amidst fields and lakes, and is close to a Provincial Road that leads to a highway connected to Wuhan. The participants thus came from a mix of towns with rural land uses and towns that were becoming more urbanized around Wuhan. Age Number of Participants 18 11 19 7 20 11 21 2 22 7 23 2 25 2 26 1 27 1 28 1 29 1 30 1 31 1 32 1 46 1 As shown in Table 1, interviewed workers were between 18 and 46 years old, and a majority of the participants were between 18 and 2 2 years old. Although I was allowed to interview only those workers who were 18 years old or older, I was approached by many young women who were younger, some as young as 14 years old, and who were


72 disappointed that I could not interview them. They wondered why I was concerned about their a ge, when the factory obviously did not care. Purposefully, I tried to interview mainly young, single women workers, since there is already literature that primarily deals with married women. For instance, Wolf (1985) mentions here preference for interviewi ng older women as follows: Some of them [older women] were overworked in particular, the women I met in Shaoxing and all of them took their jobs seriously. They, more than younger women I interviewed, had a sense of history, for their lives had spanne d an enormous social revolution that their daughters experienced only by hearsay. When young women glibly answered my questions with political slogans and with their shallow Thus, the assumptions Wolf made usually conformed to her experiences with married about the status of women in China. However, young women often more critical and defiant answers also provide d an opportunity for better examination of possible social In terms of education, six women had finished primary school, five had studied only up to junior high school, 38 had finished junior high school, and one had finished high school. Thus, the majority of women had finished junior high school (middle school). Many of my informants connected staying in school not with gender, or grade


73 performan ce, but rather exclusively with financial status. In fact, KaiQi told me that unive school financing in particular. Young women workers remarked that Yingqun and I live as they said. Still, I did interviews with women who were over thirty years old who were a bit condescending upon hearing that I'm still in school at my age. They were shaking their heads when they heard from Yingqun that people in the U.S. might go t o school at thus brings no benefit to society. Level of Education Number of Participants Primary school 6 Did not finish middle school 6 Middle school 37 High sch ool 1 Forty of the interviewed women were single (never married), and ten were married. Among the ones that were married, nine had children. Single women in the interviews did not have any children. Although, the re productive health of women was not a concern of this study, issues concerning abortion came up during interviews.


74 Alongside, older participants expressed discontent that women in the U.S. may have kids and no husband and explained to me that in that case a bortion is a clear choice for single pregnant women. As always, my question about marriage and children became amusing for the younger girls. It always seemed to be funny to the younger generation that when I asked whether they we re married I would follow this with asking if they had kids, even when they mentioned that they were not married to them having kids was tantamount to being married. A number of participants actually thought that the reason that single women in the U.S. have babies is that abort ion is prohibited. They were puzzled when I said that abortion is legal. Issues concerning population policy matter to this research since the migration of women has to be put in the context of the number of young people per household. In this case, since participants came from rural areas, their choice to migrate was undertaken in spite of other siblings being available for migration. This is because the one child policy has not been uniformly implemented across China, and rural couples are often allowed t o have two children. It has also been found that a majority of rural couples decide to have more children than permitted in disregard of population policies, as has been shown for instance in the case of rural Hubei province (Cheng 1984). Number of Siblin gs Number of Participants 1 14 2 24 3 6 4 5 5 1 Table 3 : Number of Siblings of the Participants


75 My conversations with rural women migrants reflect this notion of more than one child per couple in the countryside, since as Table 3 shows most migrant workers revealed that they have many siblings, including brothers and sisters. With this introduction to the interviewed women and processes of interviewing, the next two chapters delve into the findings of the research. The main narrative themes brought u p in interviews will thus be rehearsed, as well as the insights these provide into processes of migration as they connect economic and social issues and bridge rural and urban spaces.


76 Chapter Five From Hometowns to Factories: Strategies of Mobility This chapter follows the processes through which rural women arrive at Wuhan. It begins by describing agricultural livelihoods and infrastructure and facilities in hometowns. It then focuses more specifically on the gendering of social relations in rural a migration. The third section focuses on the choice of Wuhan as a destination for migrants, noting the extent to which this city is one node in a larger chain of m igration. section of this chapter considers the ways in which women are hired by factories, focusing on both the role of social acquaintances as well as women migrants own proclivity to serve as benefactors. Overall this section discusses how rural women become available for factory work by analyzing how rural experiences and the ability to leave rural places are shaped by gender. Home Village [ ] Whenever I asked participants where they are from the usual answer was that the y


77 Wuhan (usually from around 36.5 to 399 kilometers away). Furthermore, most workers li ved on the outer edges of the town, or in a village nearby, where the majority of land was designated for farm use and most of their parents were farm workers. Thus, instead of specifically naming their hometown right away, they preferred at first to ident ify with Wuhan or a big town near their village. For example, I asked XiZheng about her hometown, XiZheng: It's right on outskirts of Wuhan, the place is called Wuzhen. Milena: So it is not a small town? XiZheng : Actually it is like a farm, but it is not a private farm, it belongs to the government. Milena: Is it like a cooperative? Or do you have a percentage of land that you can cultivate on your own? XiZheng: The government owns all of it. The factories that are built there belong to the government and farming land also belongs to the government. Seldom farmers have their own land. Many people work in a pastry factory, or in a field; however, majority of people work in a private factory in a nearby town. Therefore, XiZheng pointed out that although in her village there is available farm work, many people take up employment outside of agriculture. In this case, there is factory employment available near the village. Work in the village is diversified, in terms of crops that farmers plant as well as vario us types of employment. Many migrants remarked that agriculture in their villages


78 focused on rice. In addition to growing rice, some migrants remarked that their parents had fish ponds, orchards, watermelon fields, and greenhouses with vegetables. Although sources (China Daily 2005) emphasize that the Hubei cotton industry is declining Bichang: My paren ts grow cotton and rice. Milena: They grow cotton? ... I am asking because I heard that the cotton industry is declining in Hubei province. Bichang: I do not know about that, but I am from near Zhangjiajie and actually many people in my hometown grow cotto n. Changes in agricultural work practices are currently ongoing shaped by the moving away of young people as well as by the kinds of populations that have stayed behind. Huang discusses work in the village in the following way: I think the work in the v illage is diversified ; some of the people do agricultural work and some of them have family business. Because I live in the village I can guess that most people in my village are growing rice on the field. Most young people have moved out to work in the ci ty; however, most of the seniors stay. Huang thus attests that, first, agricultural work is linked primarily to gr owing rice, and second, the out migration of younger people has meant that agricultural responsibilities


79 are now falling to a large extent o n elderly members of the village. This subject often came up during the interviews, and is significant because villages are left to further deteriorate due to inadequate workforce and investment in family farms. Alongside, some farmers abandon their fields in order to gain more profitable non farming work in their hometown. For instance, this was pointed out in the interview with Yang. Milena: What kind of job do your parents do? Yang: They are rice paddy farmers. Milena: ... Do they also have their own fi eld or farm animals? Yang: In the past, they had their own field but now they have changed their field into a storehouse so they do some business by themselves. This change in terms of employment between generations is likely to create and increase a tech nological gap as well, whereby old people have no access and/or resources to use new technologies. From the interviews, it seems that in recent years the government has provided many improvements in villages around Wuhan. Thus, the majority of interview pa rticipants remarked that road conditions were good enabling automobile use, due to recent improvements and/or construction. Nevertheless, for many small town residents, train transportation was still the most reliable form of transportation, as illustrated by other forms of communication were often mentioned as being somewhat limited. A s


80 who young workers did not reflect on the technological gap as a matter of genera tional difference, but rather linked this to the limited economic resources available to people left behind in the village compared to migrants. Every participant I interviewed had access to electricity back in her hometown. However, not many women had acc ess to tap water. Instead, many families had set up wells in the yard. In asking XiZheng how she liked the school building back in her hometown, and whether they have electricity and running water, I was told that, XiZheng: Well, now they updated the scho ol building. We have computers and everything was renovated. Electricity is just everywhere, just like in Wuhan. and people can go fetch the water from the tower. It is undergro und water brought to the tower. One of the major differences between the city and the countryside was in terms of healthcare. For instance : Milena: Is health care available in your hometown? XinTian: I am from Heshun, Heshun is a rather poor town, so no


81 Moreover, those participants who had access to a doctor, did not have access to specialized medical care F or instance, resembling a family doctor's office, people go there when they catch cold or something, but n said that they never felt the need to visit the doctor when they were back home. They though that only seniors and the seriously ill should go to a doctor, while young and healthy women like themselves did not have to go to a doctor. This in turn reflect s on the lack of resources for preventive care among the participants. A number of interview participants noted a difference between the city and in a village the ai mentioned air conditioning facilities as a problem and the downside of living in urban areas compared to their villages. Some participants also appreciated life in rural areas whe n compared to the overcrowded space of the dormitories. They also missed the open spaces of rural areas. For instance, would visit my family and friends and sometimes take a walk, because there is nice scen Given that the agricultural economy no longer seems to be attractive as a livelihood option for young people, migration from rural areas is likely to constitute an important part of how rural places reinsert themselves into the wider national economy of China. However, to understand the specific consequences of migration for women, it is


82 contexts, and this is the theme of the next section. Hometowns The m ajority of workers when asked about gender differences in their hometown s viewed these through the prism of structural differences and generational differences. By structural differences, I am referring to the provisions that the Chinese g overnment provided in the constitution towards equal opportunities for men and women, which had impact over the years of the communist system on perceived gender differences. For instance, Wen stated that, to girls but it has changed now. At the present time, girls and boys in the countryside have the same opportunities. I do not know for sure, but I think, these days men and women are treated equally. Therefore, many interviewed women, both single and married, said that the discrimination against women was a thing of the past and now men and women in rural China enjoyed the same social status. Those participants ofte n reflected on the discourse about gender and compa red gender policies since the establishing bring up experiences of everyday life to support or disprove structured social changes.


83 In addition, a few participants stated that in terms of education women are better off than men due to their beliefs in what they perceived to be inherent gender differences. Thus, they argued that girls are more likely to stay at school. For example, Shu claimed, some women believed that women naturally possess more patience and other desirable characteristics. Some women felt that they were treated better in their hometowns than in Wuhan. For example, acco village. Men and women get education equally. I do not think they treat men and women negative migration e xperiences in the city reflected positively on their assessment of status of women back home. A number if informants noted that there are still differences between status of men and women not on the structural level, but which reveal themselves in complex details of everyday life. For example : Huang: People prefer boys to girls. If there are two girls and one boy in a family, they will treat the boy better than they will treat girls. Milena: In what way do they treat them better? Huang: Mostly in the way t hey give out food. They will save better food for the boy. For example, better pieces of chicken. Moreover, in education ... if a boy's the boy for higher education.


84 Thus, some of the parti cipants shared their awareness of gender differences as visible through their daily experiences. Moreover, some participants reflected on the cultural pressures for having a son. Thus, Zhang, who is 23 years old, just married, and lives with her in laws, a cknowledged that, Yes, there is a difference. People prefer to have boys than girls. Actually, it is like if they have two kids, a boy and a girl they are going to be treated well in the family, but if they have two girls they will try to have a son no ma tter how much it costs. Fines do not matter; they wish to have a boy. Specifically, Zhang was referring to couples deciding to have more children, despite government imposed fines for more than two children in rural areas. Population policy laws vary from province to province. In general, while urban residents are usually allowed only one child, rural residents are allowed to have more than one child, usually two. Fines are levied if such policies are not followed. Still, some women thought that current po pulation policy enforced by the Chinese government resulted in improving the status of women. Thus : Dan: Since the population policy limits the number of children, and most people have only two kids, they are treated essentially the same. Milena: Do you t hink there is any inequality here?


85 Therefore, Dan thought that if parents will have only one child they will provide their child with care regardless of gender. However, the issues connected with choosing a s gender were not mentioned in these conversations. became more nuanced as the interview proceeded. Thus although some women initially claimed that gender differences were minimal, after more specific questions about differences between men and women in terms of education, they would often change their mind s and state that in fact there wa s a differentiation in treatment between the sexes. For instance : Guo: Most men and women are treated equally in my village. Milena: Are men more likely to go in for higher education? Guo: Yes [laughs] Milena: What happened? Thus, most informants usually did not perceive any differences until questioned more pointedly about education. Other participants however immediately connected gender areas. Bichang des cribed gender differences as follows,


86 Bichang: Yes, it happens a lot, for example, there is a married couple in our village, and when his wife gave birth to a girl he was very displeased. That is right, girls have to leave for work, go out, when they are very young, however, parents keep boys in school even if a boy has a poor performance at school. Milena: Do you think it is going to change in the future? Bichang: I think it is changing now, I think people are becoming more open minded and the situation w ill change. Since parents expect their sons to provide for them when they get older, they often put capable in academic performance. Still, problems facing women in rur al areas should not exclusively be tied to a belief that investing in male child will ensure a better future for parents, as opposed to level. This argument became v isible in my conversation with Li. Li: I think they [men and women] are treated differently. My hometown is regarded to be conservative. Men are considered a backbone of the family, so there is more attention paid to men. Milena: Do you think it's changin g? Li: When I was young there wasn't much difference, but when I grew older and I


87 often think that boys can outperform girls at school. Since higher education lead s to a highe r social status parents invest in boys. Milena: Do you notice any difference between men and women here? Li (consults with a friend): I think here, in Wuhan, it is different than in the village because in the city most people have resources and money and a re able to get higher education. limited economic resources at their disposal, rather than solely to gender based discrimination. Economic hardship in rural areas l funding for education for their children. For this reason, workers talk about the perceived difference between access to education for girls in rural area as compared to Wuhan It can be argued that a turn towards utiliz by the one child policy, which ensures that certain families do not have sons to depend on. However, in the case of rural China, families usually can have more than one child. Thus, if they choose to invest necessarily because they did not have a son, but rather that they had the resources to support their intellectual pursuits. In the same way, Yunchun identified poverty as the main factor hindering young w omen from getting education. Yuchun: Some of the families treat them [young men and women] equally and some not; it depends ... If the family has enough money they will sent girls and boys to school


88 Milena: What if they do not have money to give to both k ids Yuchun: Then they are likely to give it to the boy Milena: How about your own family? Yuchun: We all work in the factory Thus, equal opportunities for men and women are complicated by economic structures to which rural families are tied. In urban area s, young people regardless of their gender have better access to good, free education whereas many families of young people in rural areas have to balance costs of education with costs linked to providing access to proper nutrition and healthcare. Since ma ny rural families have limited incomes, they are often are unable to give education to all of their children, and they may choose to invest only in the male child. However, more often both children are not going to be able to go for higher education, and w ill have to start work at a young age diminishing their long term career prospects. Reasons for Migration Participants mentioned a number of reasons for migration. Choice of their destination was negotiated between their need for a better income and dist ance from their families. Their decision to migrate was often tied to their level of education and/or having skill needed to gain urban employment. Another reason was to improve their economic situations, or the desire to gain independence. All these reaso ns create a mix of socio


89 The choices of migrant workers are influenced by what they believe society, mainly their families and friends, expect of them. Thus, the cho ice of Wuhan as a place of destination they received here were lower than those they would receive in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, or other SEZes located in coastal areas. Thus, Hui remarked about her job in Wuhan, Hui: ... I used to work in Dongguan like my colleague. Milena Why did you decide to change your work? What brought you here from Guangdong? Hui: My family is closer and I used to get sick in Dongguan. I never g ot used to the weather over there. Likewise, Ying pointed to her parents as a principal reason for change in destination. Milena: What do people in the village think about your migration? Ying: They do not really have any opinion; it is so common. Many p eople work in Shanghai, Shenzhen, and other cities. Milena: So why did you choose Wuhan? This is true for married workers as well, who in addition to their parents have to consider their husbands and in l aws in choosing their destination for migration. Thus:


90 Milena: Where was your first job? Shengxia: I went to another city Milena: Why did you decide to come here [to Wuhan]? Shengxia: Wuhan is closer to my hometown. I wanted to be closer so I can visit my family more often, give them money as well. Another married women, Song, when asked if Wuhan was her first destination said, Song: No it is not. Before I got married, I used to work in Shenzhen, but after I got married, I moved here, to Wuhan. Milena: W hy Wuhan? Song: Because it is closer to my hometown, so it is more convenient to visit my family back in my hometown. Being closer to their hometowns did not however mean that women regularly went to visit their families. While married women may leave the ir children back in their hometown with grandparents, as one of my respondents did, and they want to visit as often as they can, in the case of single women it is not always so. Women visit their hometowns twice a year regardless of actual distance between the city they migrate to and their hometowns. Most women go back to their hometown twice a year during festivals, even though their hometowns are not located far from Wuhan. For example, Li s, when the factory is

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91 home, and they do not regard cost of travel as high. For example, when I asked YongXi, who visits her family twice a year whether it was expensive to travel back home, she said, distance and relatively minimal costs do not mean that young women are really closer to their parents, or rather closely supervised. In f act, the idea of migrating closer to women themselves. Thus : Milena: What first made you think about migrating from your village? HaiMei: I wanted to earn my own money and Wu han is closer to my home. Milena: Is it you who wanted to be closer to Wuhan or your parents? HaiMei: My parents hoped I could work closer to my hometown. For some women, the journey to Wuhan itself was a compromise between what parents considered to be s afe distance and girls considered to be a place that provided a viable source of income, though not as an exceptional opportunity as SEZ city may provide. Rather than migrating to a far away city and then coming back closer to home, a few of the women star ted their migration by working in small enterprises in small towns the shops. It was not in Wuhan, it was in a very small town near Yingcheng, it was near

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92 A number of women considered it natural to migrate after finishing junior high school, a nd some participants pointed out to the skills that they had acquired and could use only as a consequence of migration. This makes it a typical migration case whereby migrants move in steps. Thus, they first must acquire material, social, and cultural capi tal (Portes 2008) before to be able to secure their migration. Thus, some of the intertwined women would not have had opportunities to utilize their vocational education in the village. Some participants mentioned the need to use their skill or learn a new one as a reason to migrate. For example, according to Yang, not very far from here, and secondly, I received career training, skill training at school, so after school I came here to use those skills. through migration. Some young women considered themselves an encumbrance to their family when they were staying at home. In the words of leaving home becomes a way to lessen the guilt associated with not contributing to family finances, as well as to improve their own economic posit ion. Although not many participants spoke of feeling pressured by their families, a majority reflected on their own city was usually a welcome change. As FengShu stated

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93 When I asked about the outcomes of migration, a number of women spoke about family. People think it is go chose work in the factory largely for financial reasons. Wen: Before I worked here for the textile factory I worked for a hotel. But then I was able to learn how to work in a textile factory, an d so I was able to gain employment here. And why I wanted to work outside of my village is this, that I wanted to earn my own money, so I could open a family business. Milena: Is working in a factory better than working in a hotel? Wen: I can earn much mor e working for the factory. However, I have to say that it was more comfortable, and less stressful to work in the hotel. Married women also mentioned the value of their earnings from factory work. For Moreover another participant Song school in the future, so I decided to come to QiangSe: My family economic situation was not good, so I decided to come to work here. Milena: What do people in the village think about your migration? QiangSe: Many people want to work in the city, especially i n a factory.

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94 Milena: Do you view your migration as positive or negative QiangSe: Overall it has been positive. Milena: How? QiangSe: Because I can help my family with my earnings and I have some money of my own that I can control to buy clothes and food. Independence was also mentioned as an important facet of the outcomes of migration. As Ying remarked, Ying: When I was still in school, I wanted to see the world outside, so I went outside to work as soon as I graduated from junior high school. It does not matter whether I am happy or unhappy here, because I am independent here, I am in control. Thus living on their own was considered an important factor in making the decision to migrate. It signified being an adult and gaining the respect of their parents. Similarly used to yell at me. Now since I Therefore, many women valued their independent lifestyle in the city. Yet, it is not that women became independent minded after coming to the city. In fact, it is clear that the decision to migrate was made by women themselves. This especially applies to married women who chose autonomously what kind of work they will pursue and where. For example :

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95 Milena: What does your husband think abou t your work here? Shu: It depends on me, so my husband would not say anything about it. Milena: But does he support you working here? Accordingly, women often spoke of themselves as bein g self assured, certain of their beliefs, and confident about the decisions they made regarding their everyday way of life, including their decision to migrate. For example, Song remarked that, Song: I don't know but I don't follow newest trends. I have m y own rules, my own standards. People offer me advice on how to live, but I still like the way I run things myself. Milena: Can you give me an example? Song: Example? I do not have one, I am just independent. However, as noted before, independence does no t arise in a vacuum, but rather is associated with the economic system in which women are placed, and thus it comes through financial means. A few participants discussed the social benefits of migration. For example, Bao pointed out that her migration had Yilin, thought that new experiences connected to migration brought about valuable life

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96 e I entered urban society and have been through lot of things, The reasons for migration are thus intertwined. Ultimately, the social agenda that women may have is tied to economic means within which they operate; convers ely, their wealth could be a means of access to social groups. I had the following conversation with three women, Kaiqi, Luoshi, and Jingyang, about the importance they place on marriage and wealth. Milena: So what is more important to women migrants, is it money or marriage, which one is more important, or are they tied? What do you think? Luoshi: They are together. Jingying: They are tied together both of them, ... marriage and money. Milena: Can you elaborate? Kaiqi: I t is like that: you can fall in love and get married, and you may be happy together but if you are poor, if you are struggling financially it can all fall apart, so people want to have more money to ensure contented marriage. Luoshi: They are very much tie d. And money and social life are both important. You cannot have one or the other, but you want to have both. Jingying: You know I would make this comparison: water is meaningless without a cup and a cup is meaningless without water. Money can help your so cial status but without good marriage, it will not have any meaning. However, even good marriage may not survive if there is no money.

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97 As illustrated by the above conversation, economic and social reasons for migrant women workers are often intertwined. T he demarcation of migration as economic or social, might in fact have more to do with what are viewed as acceptable reasons for migration, than the actual complexity of the migration decision and experience. It is likely that since social reasons for migra tio n seem an acceptable category which women may justify their stay in the city, women will ultimately choose to define their migration through social reasons which they consider to be the customary answer (Roberts 2002). Thus, official statistical data ne eds to be questioned as so and travel towards economically growing areas (He and Gober 2003). Although this study specifically focused on young factory workers, it sheds light on desires that drive rural women migrants to pursue jobs in the city and questions gendered categories within which this particular group of women is often placed. Recruitment Processes The decision to migrate is linked to opportunities for urban work, and this section discusses the so cial networks and processes of hiring through which women obtain their employment. Specifically, this section discusses the meanings of guanxi, the role of social networks in the finding of factory work, recruitment based on merit, and the extent to which earlier migrants serve as benefactors for new migrants. When asked about the meaning of guanxi one the workers had this to say:

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98 Shanyun: Guanxi is a relationship that you have between colleagues or workers. If you help them, they will help you. You cultiv ate guanxi everyday. Milena: How does it work? Shanyun: Guanxi is ...guanxi people live peacefully with each other. Milena: Do women and men have different guanxi with people? Shanyun: Guanxi is the same .... Men have guanxi with other men and women with o ther women. Milena: So what would you need to do to have guanxi? Shanyun: You have to help others out. Since guanxi does not only involve gift giving, but also is a social process often involving the spending of time with people from whom one needs a favo r, its gendered aspects are noteworthy in which women often (but not exclusively) hold connections with other women, while men with other men. In terms of power relations, since men often have more access to government and business resources it can be lim iting to women who seek to achieve success through guanxi. When it comes to becoming aware of the employment opportunity, many workers that someone recommended the worker to the factory boss or the designer/group leader. Most of the women were introduced by relatives (aunts, uncles), or people from outside of their family but from their village with whom either they themselves or their parents had good connections (guanxi). In fact, 45 out of 50 interviewed workers started their

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99 the value of social networks in enabling migration. Yuchun: My father arranged for me to work in the factory. There was no recruitment process. There is a board outside of the factory so you can see whether they need people or not, and people can just go in and they get hired. YongXi had a similar experience to relate: YongXi: My relatives visited the factory. They thou ght it was a good place to work, so then they introduced me here. We all came together. One of the managers is from my village, and this person provided me with some help. I did not know this person directly, we are just from the same place. The workers w ho obtain their job through an introduction are not tested for their skills, and usually an experienced worker teaches them what to do. The only thing that everyone is required to do is to fill out paperwork. At the entrance of the factory, future workers had to fill out a form for the Human Resources office, fill out their personal information (for instance, name, hometown, phone number, ID number), and then they are taken by HR personnel to the factory floor where the group leader teaches them how to sew an item, and/or use one of the machines. Upon arrival of the migrant worker, the factory usually provides access to the dormitory and sometimes offers an advanced paycheck. Some women however obtained their job through merit based recruitment tests. Thus, Yanzi had the following to say about how she obtained her job:

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100 Yanzi: There is a test. If you can follow the process of making something, then you can prove that you can work in a factory. Milena: Is it [the test] for everybody or is it only for some peop le? Yanzi: Not everybody. If you have an acquaintance or a relative, good guanxi in a factory, then you don't have to go through the test. Milena: Guanxi is a Chinese concept. Can you tell me about it? Yanzi: It is like this: if you have no skills but you have a friend or a relative in a factory, someone who's a line leader or someone who has any clout there, then they will let you in. But if you come in and you have no guanxi, then you basically have to depend on passing the test. Milena: How was the wage de cided? Yanzi: We don't make the same amount of money each moth, our wages depend on amount of work that we do, they are not decided up front. Wait ... that's not all. You know if someone has better guanxi, if someone has good guanxi with the line leader or factory owner, this person will get a higher performance score than she deserves, so this person will get higher salary. Yanzi had help in getting her previous job at the supermarket, but she could not use these connections to facilitate a job at the f actory. In addition, as Yanzi mentioned, in addition to gaining entry to a job, good guanxi helps in negotiating a better pay. Those women who chose to rely on their skill to get their job took pride in their own abilities to gain employment instead of rel

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101 I actually know many people here, since it is close to my hometown. However, I did not ask for any help from them in order to get this job. My position depends on my skill, and wages depend on how much work I do. Later on, during one night when I was talking to some of the women at a restaurant after they got off work, some participants mentioned their frustration at putting in overtime, while some girls with good guanxi left work early, but still received tokens for overti me. Yanzi and many of her coworkers work overtime almost everyday of the week in order to gain better wages. This raises the question of were the participants just beneficiaries of this informal migrant network, or whether they themselves were benefactors as well. Women uniformly expressed a will to help other women migrate, but not many had actually participated in facilitating the migration process for others. Perhaps this is because many of the interviewe d women workers were very young; it was their firs t job in Wuhan, and thus perhaps they did not think that they could provide good enough prospects for other migrants. Those women who helped other migrants were often well established migrants in Wuhan. In addition, they felt their responsibility was to fi nd a job that they themselves felt was reliable, from a place that they trusted. Yin, who is a forty six year old mother of two, came back to work in Wuhan over ten years ago, and visits her hometown often. o find a good quality job here in the If this factory is good for people to work, then I think it is beneficial to help my friends,

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102 workers within the same factory often came from the same towns. For instance, Guo ber of workers from my hometown, Hongcun, here [in with people from their hometowns, they could often identify other workers who came from the same area. The m ajorit y of workers had a friend either working in the factory or were acquainted with someone in the factory. Conclusion This chapter has considered the hometowns from which migrant women are drawn, the reasons for their migration, and the processes through wh ich women came to obtain factory work. In their hometowns, most interview participants had families dependent on farm work at least the older generation. In terms of gender relations, ience lack of access to higher education compared to men, but more importantly to their urban counterparts that had more economic resources and better access to education than rural residents. Their choice of the destination for migration is a balance betw een the economic necessity of working in the city and the wish of their parents that they remain close to home. As to timing of migration, most women migrated after finishing junior high school. Although economic reasons were the primary factors for migrat ion, these intertwined with social reasons, such as being able to establish an independent lifestyle. A majority of women used social networks in order to migrate, but these were not

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103 absolutely necessary as it was also possible to earn employment on the ba skills. Having charted the movement from small towns and rural areas to Wuhan, it is not time to move to a consideration of life in the city itself, and this is the task of the next chapter.

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104 Chapter Six actory Work and Urban Living This chapter aims at introducing factory work and the wider urban environment in which migrant women are placed. At the outset, the chapter discusses issues related to uncertainties regarding urban residency status. The next section of this chapter delves has with the work ers. The chapter then moves to area and their leisure activities. Finally, the chap ter evaluates the value of migrant remittances as well as their experiences of return to their hometowns. This chapter thus foregrounds connections and disconnections between the space of the factory and the space of Wuhan, as well as provides a reflection on the distance between rural hometowns and life in the city from the viewpoint of women migrants. Urban Hukou In order to engage with the role of the state in the construction of migration, this section will attempt to evaluate the registration of migr ants. One of the most important issues concerning economic migration in China is the hukou (household registration) system (Sicular et al. 2007; Wan 2007; Fan 2005; He and Gober 2003; Zhao 1999, Chan,

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105 Liu, andYang. 1999.). Under the hukou system, people ha ve to register as either rural or urban residents. Urban residency is highly desirable, because of better availability of work, education, and healthcare in the cities. In order to migrate from one area to another, citizens have to register through obtaini ng a permit. Registered migrant residents are divided into either permanent or temporary. To apply for permanent or temporary status, migrants have to fulfill province level requirements for eligibility. To be eligible, a worker has to pay for a permit, as well as have certain qualifications in desired occupations. These qualifications vary from province to province. Temporary or permanent urban registration has more to do with legal status of the migrant than the actual time of stay in the city. However, t here are many unregistered migrants living in cities. These migrants have jobs and produce economic impact, even as they cannot fulfill the requirements for temporary and permanent registration (Lee 1998; Goldstein, Liang, and Goldstein 2000). A number of these unregistered migrants are likely to be women. As Goldstein, Liang, in occupations outside state employment, such as domestic and other service work and market sal According to some scholars, the limits placed on migration through the hukou and reduces the liabil ities that would be imposed on cities due to an increasing migrant population (Fan 1996, 29). Another view takes a critical position on the hukou system development at the cost of workers. Moreover, hukou has a negative impact on the safety,

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106 social care, and education of the migrant population (Jacka 2005; Fan 1996). Yet another way of looking at hukou is to argue that the system is irrelevant because the discriminatory prac tices embedded in society will exist regardless of the hukou system. [hukou] would help close the rural urban or regional gap. An obvious counter example is the persiste rights to address their grievances against discriminatory practices. Given that, the hukou sys tem limits women from legal participation in migration, and because it remains unclear within existing studies whether women migrate for social or economic reasons, a study on women migrants becomes crucial at the current juncture. Thus, from literature, i t appears that getting an urban hukou is a major improvement for workers, since acquiring urban residency allows them to use social services, such as health care and access to education. In the interviews, I asked some of the workers about the urban hukou application process in Wuhan. Most of the workers I interviewed did not have permanent urban status, but many did not perceive getting it as a difficulty. Thus, Yang said, Milena: Do you think that it is hard to get Wuhan hukou? Yang: Nowadays ... No, I t hink it is not. Milena: Some women have complained that it is difficult. Why do you think it is not difficult anymore?

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107 Yang: I have not tried it myself, but I did hear from people that if you need to work here then you could change your residency. Shanyun who has obtained urban hukou described the process as unproblematic. Shanyun: It is very easy. Milena: Do you have to pay for it? Shanyun: You just go there and pay. Milena: How long ... Shanyun: It took just one month. I turned the recorder off and we just chatted about hukou for ten or fifteen minutes. She said that maybe it is not as easy to get an urban hukou in Beijing or Shanghai, but in Wuhan it took her one month to get it and she thought it was easily achievable. She suggested that it is because Wuhan is not as popular a destination for migration as SEZ cities and it is not as developed as other cities, therefore the city government does not see However, KaiQi, thought differently. Mil ena: Is it easy or is it difficult to get residency here? Kai Qi: I think it is difficult ... Milena: How long do you think it usually takes?

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108 Milena: Is it difficult because of the cost or are the requiremen ts that the administration puts on migrants difficult? Kai Qi: It's both the process takes a long time and it is costly. However, with urban residency it is much easier to find a job ... When I asked Jingying what she thinks about getting urban hukou, she said that she has heard from other women that no one really gets openly refused, but rather the public servants make the process so long that people just give up. Still, many participants fore, it seems that notwithstanding women having urban jobs, either factory or service jobs, they are likely to be excluded as part of the official economy when compared to men (Goldstein, Liang, an d Goldstein 2000). Experiences of Factory Work The lives of women workers are scheduled around factory routines. Despite the fact that participants came from three different factories, their work schedules were virtually the same (see Table 4 ). On a working day, majority of the workers from all three factories wake up around 7:10 to 7:15 p.m. Those workers who have young children and/or live away from the factory have to wake up at 6 a.m. However, these workers usually do not work overtime. Participants usually eat their breakfast on their way to work, and buy i t from the street vendor. On most days, work starts at 8 a.m., but sometimes workers can come in later at 9 a.m. There is a lunch break usually between 12

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109 and 1 p.m., however some workers take it earlier 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Without exception, workers eat their lunch at the factory canteen, although some complain that the food does not taste good. After an hour of lunch, they go back to work. Regular working hours end between 5 to 5:30 p.m. Then workers usually take a short break to eat something from the street vendor, and then they go back to overtime work. Depending on the factory, different. For instance, Shu is married and has a so n. She usually wakes up at 6:30 a.m and begins her day by washing family clothes. Afterwards, she wakes up her son and prepares him for school. She walks him to school. Then she goes to the factory and on the way she picks up breakfast. She starts work with everyone else at 8 a.m. Shu leaves he r work at 5 p.m. and goes to pick up her son from school. When they get back to the apartment, she prepares dinner for her family, and turns in for the night at 9 p.m. During their day off, the workers wake up early if they are planning to visit their fami lies back home. Usually, they get on a bus or a train and then spend their day off with their family. Otherwise, they sleep in or spend a leisurely day in terms of the activities listed in Table 4

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110 Work day: 6:30 AM 7:10AM Day begins 7:15 AM 7:40 AM Breakfast at the street vendor/canteen 8:00 AM 9:00 AM Work begins 11:00:00 AM Lunch break at the canteen* 12:00:00 PM Work resumes 5:00:00 PM End of regular work period 5:30:00 PM Dinner from the street vendor/ canteen 6:00 PM 10:00 PM Overti me work 10:00:00 PM End of day Day off: Early or late (depending on schedule) Day begins Mostly 12:00 PM 9: 00PM Reading fiction books; shopping at nearby flea market / clothes exchange center / supermarket / grocery store / Hanjiang Lu; meeting with friends; visiting the amusement park; browsing books at the book stand at the flea market; roller skating, taking a stroll/walking at the park at the bank of the river using a computer at an Internet Caf to watch movies; play or browse; watching TV; doin g laundry; cleaning room; sleeping in Table 4 The work at the factory is repetitive and tiring. In addition, workers do not get many days off only one day a month. Thus, Yanzi often feels exhausted compared to how she felt back worn etown, here in the city I do not really have that much time to relax, I have to work from morning :

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111 Dan: I am tired here from all the work, so if I have free time I just want to rest, to not go anywhere. And in the village it was ba sically the same. See, whenever I have free time my husband works in a factory, whenever he has time I work in a factory, so we do not get to spend much time together. When talking about her free time, Rong reflected a concern shared by other workers, nam ely, an inability to find friends, or a boyfriend, and a feeling of loneliness. Thus, many workers spend their free time not in a group of good friends, but rather reading newspapers and books, browsing the Internet, or watching movies on the computer. Ron g described her experiences of factory work in the following fashion: Rong: There are some changes since I started working; since I have been working here my personality changed. Or rather, my temper changed a lot and my family has some negative ideas abo ut my working here. Milena: How did you ... how did your character change? Rong: It is easier for me to get angry since I took this job because this job is dull Milena: So are you easily irrit ated? Rong: Yes, exactly. I felt that I am less happy than before and the workload is heavier than before and I have less time to spend than before, leisure time I mean. Even during a day off most of the workers remain close to the factory. The furthest p oint in the city some of them ventured was near Hanjiang road, for either shopping or

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112 skating/walking at the riverbank. This is still in Hankou, in the same part of Wuhan that their factories are located. Thus although many workers talked about the excite ment of living in the city, in reality their daily activities, even those on the day off, seem constricted. That is not an issue of transportation, since there are buses, trains, and ferry access around the town, but rather lack of information about places they could visit, and most of all lack of time. After all, they have little time for the rest, so it seems too precious. Although majority of workers usually had some other people from their hometown working in the same factory, it did not create instant friendships. Therefore, although many workers talked to their colleagues, went shopping together, or shared a joke, some could not find real friends, and they rather spent time by themselves, enjoying reading the newspaper, or surfing the Internet. This ap plied to the level at which workers were organized at work, which is to say that in case of a conflict workers had to direct their grievances directly to the management. Workers do not have any unions or other organizations. So, whatever conflict occurs t hey have to solve it via the group leader or Moreover, most women do not complain, even will not complain to anyone, I will try to have fun, to relax, to relieve the pressure from In terms of the he lp managers provide, most workers received help with their accommodations, advanced paycheck, and assistance in terms of their provisions. Still,

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113 on day to day basis, workers could not identify any other help they received from management. Some participant s mentioned that managers told them how to do something right if they had made a mistake. Thus, when asked about what kind of help they have received from the management, an overwhelming majority of interview respondents s they will give me suggestions on how to improve employer relationships were rather carefully negotiated, based on unspoken expectations, than overwhelming oversight and outright, visible restrictions. aychecks, this varied from month to month, as workers negotiated their pay per finished item rather than set monthly wages. For r, after some time on the job, workers according to the workload, but if you work in a factory for a while you can argue with your boss to give you a better salary, and b asically the boss decides what kind of work g. Wright 2003), I expected the salary of the factory workers to be low (about 400); however most of the workers were pleased with the amount of money t hey made. Workers claimed that they can make us much as 1500 to 2100, although some said that they make about 1000. Still, the salary they received seemed high compared to what I expected. That was of course including overtime hours that they took almo st every day. Moreover off record I asked one participant, who had a high school diploma and knew a little English if she did not

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114 think that an office job would offer her better economic opportunity. Her response was that with current unemployment, it wou ld be difficult for her to access an office job, and she believed that the work in the factory offered her a comparatively good salary. not have to necessarily live in a fact apartment. For instance, when I asked Ming, Milena: What help did the managers provide? Ming: No help. Milena: Not with living arrangements? Ming: I did not need that, so I got extra earnings instead This ability to not stay in dormitories differs from the description of factory work offered by Wright (2003), Kelly (2002), and Lee (1998) In the case study presented by Wright, mobility of migrant women workers in Dongguan (southern China) was greatly limite d, their privacy limited, and their bodies subjected to control in order to increase production and better the labor turnover rates. However, in case of the three Wuhan factories, workers were not as restricted in the factory or outside of their work. Anot her striking difference was that although the majority of interviewed workers were young women, some interviewed workers were married, and had children, while as described in ed would be let go. Furthermore contrary to the stories from coastal textile factories and small manufacturers in rural areas (Lee 1998), workers in Wuhan did not have to wear

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115 uniforms, instead they were allowed to wear their regular casual attire. For in stance, one than in my hometown; most girls wore shorts and t shirts with sneakers. In addition, Bl ue Jay factory gave some of the clothes to workers who made them as well, thus one of the participants, Yuan, right ories in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Phillipines e ater productivity, in the case of the three factories studied in this thesis, workers were less physically restricted. However, there were other factor limited time for leisure activities. Second, even during their free time they limited their movement themselves. However, it is important to point out that my study shows how management styles diff er across China and across companies. It seems that studies of this nature done in SEZs, especially in Southern China, reveal extremely strict and exploitative management style, while in this study workers experienced far more autonomy The f actory usually closes twice a year, once during winter and once during the summer. This gives workers an opportunity to visit their families and/or look for other factory work Thus, Wen remarked that: It works like this, every year when a factory reopens in the summer or after the spring festival, the factory will post signs that they need people. Workers can

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116 come in and inquire about the position, and see whether or not they like the conditions in the factory. If they like it, they will stay and work there. As the ul timate way to complain about work is to quit, workers are able to do so usually during traditional holidays. However, this situation is possible only when the kind of work that they can perform is available. In coastal cities, there are many more migrants, and the recent global economic crisis has had ramifications in terms of workers coming back form the Spring Festival and finding factory doors closed. play in the economy of skip this question, or said that they do not know, or most often they said that they do not think their factory plays any role in the local or global economy. S ome women did think about their c onnections to local and /or global markets. For instance, Ying said about her participants recognized that factories played some role in the wider economy, but were n factory, our factory, it is kind of famous in Wuhan, but it can hardly be contributing to cont ribute anything to the global economy. It is a very small enterprise, the owner has w ere known, instead of considerations regarding how their livelihoods were tied and propelled by the local and global capitalist structures. Still, some workers linked their

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117 ngs. Factory helps workers to earn money. However, without the workers the factory would economic events in the country on more personal level. For instance, Ming remarked th at, Ming: I think the products that are produced by my company are very good, and strictly checked for quality. Milena: And your personal contribution? Ming: I think I am contributing. After the earthquake [2008 Sichuan province earthquake] I gave my mone y to charity to support victims of the earthquake Milena: What about the economy? Ming: I do not know ... Still, other participants thought that the contributions of their factory role should be y factory plays certain roles in One possible reason why participants refused to engage in que stions about the participation of their factories in processes of globalization could be that this was an unexpected question in the interview within which most questions were focused on their daily routines and experiences of urban and rural life. Further women might have felt that they do not want to engage in a discussion of issues that they perceived as irrelevant, since they saw their factory as contributing primarily to the local economy. Another

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118 reason is that this question requires time to think th rough, and even if the participants are encouraged to take their time they still felt a pressure to respond immediately, so they rather skipped the question than giving an answer that they have not thought through. The global to local connection also invo lves connecting global economic processes to the connections might have seemed convoluted to make through the interview. Perhaps if asked a question about the market economy and availability of their factory work, it would have been easier to build connections with their personal lives. I ticular through availability of entertainment and the vast possibilities that the city offered, although they did not explore as much of the city as they wished, migra tion had already altered their social status and made them feel cosmopolitan. The fact, that they could go back to their experiences and make comparisons between different Chinese cities, for instance Wuhan a nd Shanghai, had already changed their outlook o n and participation within processes of globalization. Experiences of Urban Living A number of women shared their excitement at being in the city. For instance, here The surroundings are much nicer. For example, the roads are so much cleaner here,

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119 transportation, and differences in architecture. This came up very often in conversa tions with migrant workers, as they pointed to ease of finding a place to live and a job. For Yu remarked are mainly physical, and probably in the city there is more opportunity I think [to do a different kind of te cities in China, and there are many work opportunities here. The transportation is exciting. I felt fresh and Alongside, availability of transportation made access to an array of goods and services easier. For instance, XinTi an remarked, transportation is better. It is not as inconvenient as in the rural area. Shopping is much agreeable to many migrant women, si nce back in their villages some of them had to walk a few kilometers in order to visit a store. Moreover, participants appreciated that they had more variety of goods, than in the stores near their hometowns. However, aside from more superficial differenc es between urban and rural areas, workers also perceived less obvious differences between the city and the countryside, especially in terms of lifestyle and character of the people. Specifically, participants viewed urban society as more sophisticated but also complicated. Thus :

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120 Huang: The landscape is more beautiful in the rural area, the air is fresher, but housing is much better here. There are differences between the rural area and a city, for example, most people in the rural area do not have higher e ducation, as many people in the city do, so the way people express themselves is different. Milena: What do you mean by expressing themselves? Huang: Just simply the way they speak ... feel free unlike in the came to the city to earn money through factory wor k, they perceived city folk as busy and materialistic. For instance : Shanyun: There is a big difference, city life is more regular, stable, village life is more casual. I think that in the rural area, I would just sleep and waste my time, but in the city, I would sit on bench and have some personal time, or maybe take a shower. Shanyun There is no concept of time in their [rural] life. Milena: People don't live in a hurry?

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121 Th is does not necessarily mean that women had positive opinions about urban lifestyles. On the contrary, they often though urban residents were much too preoccupied with making money, especially since their own jobs often consisted of 11 hour workdays. For i nstance : Wen: ... people in rural areas are more free than people in urban areas. For example, people in rural areas wake up early in the morning and they go to sleep early at night. However, people here are more focused on making money, so they are more restricted by time. Thus, migrants view urban life through the prism of the demanding schedule of their factory labor that required timely appearance to complete everyday routine work. Thus, other city experiences become difficult to gather, as Xue descri Although city life seems scheduled i.e., frightening, mainly in terms of safety. Most participants did not view city as a safe place. According ly: Wen: It is not saf e, I do not like going into crowded areas, it is too complicated. Milena: Is crime more likely to occur in crowded areas? Wen : It is not good, crowded areas have higher crime rates, because it is much easier for thieves to steal there. Streets that are nar row, for example. Mall is much safer.

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122 not ideally safe, but it is pretty alright here in Wuhan, but there are so many people here, but people from here are pretty sophis ticated. Qingqing Fang: People that live in rural areas are more simple, straightforward, or nave. However, people living in urban areas, people are more sophisticated. Therefore, I need to pay more attention to the urban people. Milena: In what way do you need to pay more attention? Qingqing Fang: There are many people in urban areas. There may be among them those people who are not good in their heart, so I need to pay more attention to what their intentions may be. Overa ll, cities are more economically developed than rural areas, and people here are complicated. On the other hand, in the rural area, people are not complicated in their minds, they are easier to get along. Newcomers in the city seem to be especially vulner able, as city appears to be different to what they perceive as orderly small town life. As a person confronted with everyday violent news reports on the Internet and TV, I had to confront my own indifference, towards the aggression that workers encountered in the city. Robbery was one of the mos t

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123 frequently mentioned, as workers recalled things being stolen in the dormitories, or apartments, or at the nearby amusement park. Urban Leisure Life in the city provides many opportunities for entertainment, for example, karaoke bars and movie theaters. Thus, I asked workers about their movie watching experiences. However, the majority of the participants had never been to a movie theater, either because of lack of time, not having friends to go with and not wanti ng to go by newly released copies of movies on the Internet, and thus true for not only migrant workers but also urban residents. Compared to other participants, BoB aiBo had more time to explore the city. Perhaps this had to do with her having good connections to the factory management and thus being allowed more leisure time, since she did not work overtime. However, BoBaiBo, still considered her work at the factory to be stressful. I asked BoBaiBo about city entertainment. Milena: Do you visit urban malls? BoBaiBo: I think malls are too expensive to shop at. We usually prefer to shop somewhere where we can afford to buy something. Milena: For example?

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124 BoBaiBo: Some places where it is cheap: Hanjiang street and Changjiang street, small stores or stand with clothes, these kinds of places. Milena: How would you compare your leisure in the city with how you used to spend your free time in your hometown? BoBaiBo: City has much more entertainment, for example karaoke and shopping, roller skating and parks where you can stroll, but in the rural area, there is not such entertainment. Basically you can just can spend time with your friends, or surf on the internet, that's abou t it. Milena: Do you go out to see movies? BoBaiBo: I do like watching movies at the theater. Many workers did not have friends to share their leisure activities. This is illustrated in my interview with HaiMei. Milena: Do you go out to see movies? HaiMe i: No, I do not. Milena: Is it too expensive? HaiMei: I have no one to go with. Milena: With whom do you like to spend your free time? HaiMei: I prefer to spend time alone. However, Yuchun had a different experience.

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125 Yuchun: Sometimes I will go to see a movie. Yuchun: There is a theater near the factory, so if I am bored I will go there to watch a movie. Still, it does not mean that workers were disconnected from local and global popular culture. A majorit y of the workers had seen many popular movies online, so that the internet provided them with an informal ways of consuming popular culture. When asked about a favorite place for shopping, majority of participants identified the French chain supermarket, French supermarket here in Wuhan, Carrefur. I have a favorite store in Shenzhen but it mall but favored supermarkets a nd flea markets. This seems to be corresponding with global culture in the vicarious and unanimous shopping experience of supermarkets. The issue that many participants did no t like shopping for clothes or cosmetics, or shopping altogether came up in interviews quite often. For instance, this conversation with Qingqing shows her detachment from consumer driven places. Qingqing Fang: If I have friends that can go out, then we w ill go out shopping, to buy some things, but if not then I prefer to stay at the dormitory, read books and clean a bit. Milena: If you go shopping do you have any favorite place you go to?

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126 Qingqing Fang: No I don't have any. However, if I go shopping I pre fer to walk around, in quiet places. Milena: What's your favorite bookstore? Qingqing Fang: Well, it is not a bookstore. I buy books at the bookstand at the flea market. However, shopping was acceptable to facilitate contact with friends. Nevertheless, mo st women liked other activities than shopping, for example chatting with friends, spending time on a computer, or participating in sports. I asked Yilin, Milena: You mentioned that you visit supermarkets but do you visit urban malls? Yilin: I am not very interested in shopping in malls. to the way you were spending your free time in your hometown? Yilin: Here in Wuhan, when I have free time, I will go to the Internet caf and I can surf the Internet or just go grocery shopping. However, back in my hometown, I could talk to my family members and watch TV and visit my friends to chat with them. Several authors have mentioned their ethnographic experiences of going shopping with fa ctory workers (e.g., Sun 2008, Lee 1998) Since I myself was confronted with participants telling me that they cannot really think of their favorite place for shopping, because in their free time they prefer to do things other than shopping, I was surprise d

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127 when some of my informants asked if I wanted to go shopping with them. I asked them why, since apparently they did not go shopping themselves. They responded that they thought that this is what I was interested in, and since they considered me their gues t, they wanted to show their hospitality this way. Thus, although we made some trips to the local market, we mainly decided to spend our time at one of the local restaurants that was open late at night, and thus we could meet there after work. That made ev eryone content since we all were able to taste different food and young women were pleased with a change from the canteen food that they deemed to be unsavory. Usually during our walks to the market or the restaurants, participants would discuss the lates t novel they had read and question me on my reading. They were very disappointed at how little fiction I read compared to them and that I haven't read some of the books they did, even more so if the author was an American. After all, I was supposed to be e ducated, and thus fond of reading. My weak defense that I had to read numerous non fiction books and articles as a student did not meet with their approval. They were happy to inform me about latest publications, plots of books they have read, and make rec ommendations in terms of Chinese classics and Western novels. It remains a question for me then whether our ethnographic experiences come entirely from us wanting to med iation between what we expect of our participants and they of us as researchers, especially foreign researchers. Thus, should we rethink our view of Chinese migrant workers as just consumers entirely preoccupied with shopping, and instead reflect on our ow n assumption of what young women do in their free time that in turn may influence their decision about how to respond to us. This is important because many publications

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128 l iterature asks questions about what women buy, in what ways their consumer experiences are restricted, what products are advertised to migrants. However, as Sun (2008) pointed out migrant women also enjoy other aspects of city life than consumer consumptio n, and have interests outside shopping that are worth bringing into discussions on migrant identities. In addition, dichotomy of leisure and work is connected to how migrants experience global processes. For instance Massey (2005) reflected on a need for more critical assessment of people's mobility and assessment of globalization, thus pointing out that immobility may be defined in different ways and people that may be the most engaged with globalization processes (for instance factory workers) may be at the same time limited in their mobility. Alongside, there is a need in the current discourses on migration to steer away from reproducing assumptions about the presupposed exclusion of the South from the connection and mobility of globalization. Thus, this study shows that although migrant workers may be limited by their timing and space of the factory work at the same time migration provides them with global, cosmopolitan experiences. In addition, while some Chinese rural women in their hometowns may still have to use wells in order to get drinking water this does not exclude them from watching the newest Hollywood productions on the Internet at the flea market Internet Caf near their village, or sharing their experiences of travel to other Chinese cities. And the fact that there is more attention brought to building roads, as roads facilitates commerce, where as there is less emphasis on providing tap water to rural population, may also be connected to globalization, as the government seeks to expand its p articipation in the transnational and

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129 Chinese market and thus invests in infrastructure that would facilities this process. Experiences of Return and Remittances Most migrants return to their hometown twice a year, especially during the Spring Festival t hat traditionally is a time for family reunions. In terms of family attitudes According to Xue, Milena: What do people in the village think about your migration? Xue: They are not very supportive Milena: Why not? Xue: Because they say that your daughter works in a textile factory, they think it is not so good. Perhaps this attitude is prevalent among some groups of people in the rural communities that do not have much exp erience of migration. In contrast, most workers thought that their migration was viewed in a positive way by people from their hometown. For However, while s ome women perceived some changes in their family status since they started their work, their responses varied, some answered that they have not perceived any changes, and that they expected that their families will always treat them

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130 well regardless of thei contributions, or even just du e to the fact that they are living independently of their parents, even if they did not make any contributions. According to 18 year old FengShu, Milena: Do you think your status within the family has changed since your job? FengShu: I feel that our rela tionship is warmer. It improved. Milena: Do you help your family with your earnings? FengShu: No, I do not because they did not want to accept my money. I was interested in manifestations of urban consumption among rural migrant workers as they visit thei r hometowns. One of ways in which migrants can demonstrate their financial success, is through clothes that they wear (Gidwani and Sivaramakrishnan 2003). However, from previous studies, it seemed that young women were likely to change into clothes that pe ople in their hometowns were more accustomed to, i.e., less revealing, less Western type attire. Thus, I asked some of the participants about their choice of dress to wear during home visits. For example, KaiQi does not change her attire when she goes back home. Milena: Do you think there is a difference between how people dress in rural and urban areas

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131 KaiQi: People in urban areas wear makeup and like to dress up, whereas people in rural areas dress simply. Milena: So when you go back home do you change t he way you dress? KaiQi: No, whatever I wear here I will wear in my home town. I will not change what I wear. Milena: What do you your parents think about what you wear? KaiQi: Well, sometimes if my clothes reveal a bit of skin, they will think that is too much and suggest I put on something less revealing; sometimes they do not like what I wear. Milena: What about your friends? Do they admire what you wear? KaiQi: Admire? Maybe not, but they definitely like what I wear ... Another participant, Yang, dress ed up whenever she was visiting her hometown. Milena: Can you tell me if would you change the way you dress when you go back home? Yang: I do, I dress better. Milena: Why do you do that? Yang: I want people to think I am doing well, that I am successful h ere in the city. I don't want for people to worry about my migration here ...

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132 Thus, it seems that these young women often use their urban dress style to show their success in the city. At the same time, they use their accomplished appearance to reduce the worry about their well being in the city that their friends and families may have. Many participants kept money to spend on their own expenses. This shows that women are were not solely providing for their families, but also strengthening their own finan cial independence since they are spending a portion of their money on themselves. A majority of participants however usually reserved a significant portion of their income f amily. I put money from my paycheck there and whenever they need money they can withdraw from this account cause some social changes in terms of gender relations in the countryside. Although some p arents may see their daughters as future economic providers but only in terms of low paying jobs, other parents may see their daughters as future caretakers akin to their sons and thus be more willing to invest in their education/training. In addition, wom en may experience a better status within their own family. For example, Yanzi used to give majority of her income to her parents, however now she gives them about half of her income. I asked her about what her migration meant to her family, Milena: Do y ou think your status within the family has changed since your job? Yanzi: Yes, it did. When I was younger, my parents used to like my younger sister more and now that I started making money, and contribute to the family income, they treat me much better, e ven better than my younger sister. Milena: Do you help other people from your village migrate?

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133 Yanzi: I definitely do, because I can see that without the work here, young people just stay at home in the village feeling bad, feeling useless. I encourage the m to come here. Milena: What do people in the village think about your migration? Yanzi: I think in the beginning people in the village were worried. But now they can see that I'm more mature, that I know how to distinguish evil things from good things, wh at I should do and what I shouldn't do. Milena: Can I know what those things are? Yanzi: When I was younger people were worried I'm going to date a lot, now ... Therefore, for Yanzi, her f inancial independence as well as help that she has given to her parents resulted in more personal freedom that she now enjoys. (although commonly not large sums), but not necessari ly to their in laws or husband. Conversation with Dan (30 years old, married for 6 years, has a son) reveled that she shares her income with her parents. Dan: Yes, I give money to my family Milena: By your family you mean whom? Dan: My parents Milena: App roximately how much?

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134 Dan: It is hard to put a percentage value on it cause it changes. Whenever I have extra money I give it to them, and sometimes it is more than other times. Some of the married women supported both their parents and their in laws. For instance, laws every time when I go children with their parents and/or in laws back in their hometowns. This w as depicted bySong. Milena: Do you help your parents with your earnings? Song: I do. It is not a lot of money, it is not a small sum either, but whenever I have extra money, I give it to my family. Milena: That is your parents or in laws Song: Actually, b oth, my parents and my in laws. I give money to my in laws as well, because they take care of my son while I am here. Therefore, although the literature (Wolf, 1972) points out that married women have greater economic significance to their in laws than th eir parents, this particular group of women seemed to be connected more with their natal families than their in laws. In returning to their hometowns, migrant women display the success of their migration and are also likely to challenge the attribution of both single and married women utilize their income both to maintain their ability to stay

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135 in the city as well as help their parents and in laws further justifying household level Conclusi on This chapter verified the importance of guanxi for many of the workers in terms of securing their jobs in the city. However, it also pointed out that workers can successfully gain employment based on merit, rather than social networks. This chapter has also questioned the type of work relationships that are experienced by women in ship same across mainland China. Still, workers lives remain tightly scheduled around factory time, workers remain close to the factories. Thus, many workers engage in activities that do not require social engagements and distant travel into different are as of the city, especially as they do not view the city as a safe place. In addition, although majority of interviewed workers did not have urban permanent residency, they were able to secure their jobs, and some believed that gaining urban hukou is not di fficult, especially in Wuhan where there are not as many restrictions as in SEZs. Finally, the chapter engaged

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136 families. By returning home for periodic visits, migrant wom en convey their economic success in the city and install confidence in their well being among family members.

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137 Chapter Seven Conclusion The findings of this study place it within current discussions that are taking place between different transnation al and national bodies on migration. Thus, the United Nations (UN) recently published a Human Development Report (2009) focused on migration which makes these recommendations: The principal reforms proposed center around six areas, each of which has impor tant and complementary contributions to make to human development: opening up existing entry channels so that more workers can emigrate; ensuring basic rights for migrants; lowering the transaction costs of migration; finding solutions that benefit both de stination communities and the migrants they receive; making it easier for people to move within their own countries; and mainstreaming migration into national development strategies (United Nations Development Programme V). Thus, in essence it argues that although costs of migration is often high, such migration resolves many development problems. This however ignores structural issues, so that unequal levels of spatial development will not be resolved merely through moving people

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138 from one place to another In other words, a celebratory narrative of more or less forced migration should be avoided. The specific case study explored by this thesis sheds light on gendered migrant experiences. Although this particular group of participants came mostly from rura l areas in Hubei province (only one participant was from Henan) and thus migration took place across a short distance, for the majority of interviewed participants it was still a leap, in the sense that they came from being children in their parental homes to being independent adults and active participants in the economy of China. scales, namely, global, state, factory, and family. Thus, these structures inform strategies t hose women migrants choose to employ in order to gain employment in the city. Management style appears to be connected to the way in which factories are bounded to the global economy. From literature dealing with factory work in China (e.g. Wright 2003; Le by the factory in order to advance production processes. However, this thesis shows that factory practices are likely to differ based on location. Thus, factories in Wuhan dif fer from m anagement in the southern China factory described by Wright (2003) which had towards female workers in order to maximize the production, for example, by constrai ning movement on the factory floor, confining women to their dormitories, and conducting forced illness/injury and The approach in Wuhan instead can be described as hegemonic. Therefore, not all participants worked overtime. In addition, living in a dormit ory was not required and many workers were able to rent an apartment. Moreover,

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139 workers were able to keep their jobs regardless of their marital status. W orkers were also not forced to wear uniforms, instead they wore casual clothes. However, factories in this thesis were limited to Chinese owned ones which did not depend on foreign investment. What is more, their production was geared towards the Chinese market. Therefore, this study cannot describe management practices used by foreign companies in Wuhan. Thus it is likely that because factories in this study did not participate in the global economy their management practices were less despotic and provided relatively more autonomy to workers On the state level, migrant workers are limited by the huko u system, which limits their ability to find work and use social benefits, such as education and healthcare. In these terms this study was limited as did not deeply engage with the issues of registration system. The reason for it was twofold. First, this study took place over a short time that did not allow for majority of participants to engage in sensitive topics, such as their registration status. Second, those workers that brought up issues of hukou pointed out that although it was much easier to gain employment with urban hukou, they were able to secure their job at the factory without such registration In addition, one of the participants who had urban hukou regarded the process as less difficult when compared to cities located in SEZs. On the level of the factory, workers were negotiating between the importance of securing their income through overtime work and leisure. Workers felt compelled to take as much overtime as was available in order to compensate for their low wages, thus limiting time for leisure activities. Moreover, during their day off most of the workers remained in proximity to the factory. Thus, it seemed that many workers felt exhausted

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140 by the factory schedules and their work seemed to dictate their lives outside of the factory spac e. Many workers used the help of their relatives, friends, and acquaintances from their hometowns to gain employment in the factory. Thus, it would seem that social networks and guanxi play ed an important role in facilitating migration. However, a few mig rants reported receiving no help and being hired based on merit, using only their skills in order to gain factory work. However, the fact that workers underlined their pride in gaining employment without guanxi, proves that this is still an important part of Chinese economy. In addition, families in part limited women as choice of Wuhan as a homes. In general, their education and training allowed them to gain emplo yment and some women initially migrated to SEZs, but later they traveled back to Hubei province to find work in Wuhan. Still this did not ensure parental control, as young women maintained the same limited amount of visits to home villages. In addition, ma rried women were able to move their household to the urban area and therefore to some extent separate themselves from traditional in laws household thus changing their socio economic status. Thus, although Wolf (1972) pointed towards importance of having a son from the factory work also produce changing socio economic outcomes for rural women workers. Hence, through migration participants sought better economic opportunitie s independent of their parents or in laws. This autonomy was visible also through the way in which single women distributed their income : although majority of single women sent

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141 a large part of their income back home, some of them also saved a portion of th eir income for future economic investments. Women migrants also sought to gain cosmopolitan experiences connected with on their own, without wider social engagements However, these leisure activities did not necessarily involve consumption of products (Sun 2008, Lee 1998) available in urban areas, but also consumption of culture (reading books, watching movies in the Internet Caf), and pursuit of sports activities. However, perception s of urban space to some exten t limited Migration thus emerged as a matter of intertwining socio economic factors. Reasons for migration revealed by women show that the urban space is a meeting point between work and leisure. In addition, intertwining social and economic motives are visible through use of social connecti ons (guanxi) in order to secure work. This study reveals that the space of migrants is in between the urban and the rural. This in betweeness is visible through return visits during which workers establish their success by displaying their urban attire. In addition, urban work supports rural economies through remittances that workers distribute to their families. I t is also present in social connections between home village and urban jobs. Thus, urban rural spaces become bridged through processes of circula r migration (Gidwani and Sivaramakrishnan 2003). It can be argued that t his study compares two different economic structures experienced by women: the feudal system experienced at the home level (Gibson

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142 Graham 1996) and the capitalist system outside of the hometown. Thus, saying that women benefit from engaging in capitalist economy is only true insofar as we are comparing one exploitative system to another, where women gain relative economic/social freedom by engaging in factory work in the market economy. What kind of future does capitalist globalization in China bring for factory work and women workers in rural Hubei province? Factory work as linked to multinational companies cannot remain the source of employment for rural populations since the pressure from transnational companies is to cheapen the labor. As Chinese labor becomes more expensive, multinational companies will want to move elsewhere. Still, China has a huge consumer market, and those companies that are geared towards Chinese consumers may b ecome a viable source of employment for migrant women. On the other hand, how the work of migrant women will be affected by the ups and downs of the global economy. Th ere is a need for more migration studies that would engage more deeply with meanings of space, economy, society, and gender, and bring about better understandings of migration. In addition, to gain a more complete understanding of issues tied to mobility, long term studies are needed which can be committed to this area. Specifically, this kind of biographical research could look into changes that over time are presented by migration. After all, women could change their responses with time. Moreover, researc h should engage further with married women, and can also include men. However, this could potentially shift the focus from research on women. Future research could also take on more difficult questions concerning registration [hukou] issues and work in inf ormal

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143 sectors of the economy. In addition, there is need to expand factory comparison studies between SEZs and Central and Western areas, as well as further investigate comparisons between foreign investment and Chinese factories especially from geographic perspective.

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144 References Abu Lughod L. 1993. Writing Women's Worlds: Bedouin Stories Berkeley: University of California Press. Anderson, B. 2008. Doreen Massey 'For Space' (2005). In: Hubbard, P., Valentine, G. & Kitchin, R. Key Texts i n Human G eography London: Sage. Beynon, L. 2004. Dilemmas of the Heart: Rural Working Women and Their Hopes for the Future. In On the Move: Women and Rural To Urban Migration in Contemporary China eds. A. Gaetano and T. Jacka, 131 150. New York: Columbia Universi ty Press Becker, Jasper. 2004. Growing P ains: More Money, More Stuff, More Problems. Any S olutions? National Geographic March Issue. Breslin, S. 2004. Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: the Public, the Private and the International. Working Paper No 104, Asia Research Center Perth, Australia: Murdoch University Brandt, L. 1989. Commercialization and Agricultural Development: Central and Eastern China 1870 1937. Cambridge University Press. Brooks, R. and R. Tao. 2003. ce and Challenges. International Monetary Fund (IMF) Working Paper. Burawoy, M. 1998. The Extended Case Method. Berkeley: University of California.

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148 Gibson Graham, J. K. 1996. The End of Capitalism (as we Knew it) a Feminist Critique of Political Econo my Cambridge, MA; Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Gidwani, V., and K., Sivaramakrishnan. 2003. Circular Migration and the Spaces of Cultural Assertion. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 93(1); 186 213. Goldsein, S., Z. Liang, and A. Goldste in. 2000. Migration, Gender and Labor Force in Hubei Province, 1985 1990. In eds. B. Entwisle and G. Henderson, Re Drawing Boundaries: Work, Households, and Gender in China. Berkeley: University of California Press. Graham, A. 2004. Heavy Industry Central. Euro Biz: Journal of The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China Sep. (Last accessed 18 February 2008). Hanser, A. 2004.The Gendered Rice Bowl: The Sexual Politics of Service Work in Urban China. Gender and Society 19(5): 581 600. Harvey, D. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism Oxford University Press Oxford. Harvey, D. 2003. The New Imperialism Oxford University Press. Oxford. He, C. and P. Gober. 2003. Gendering Interprovincial Migra tion in China. International Migration Review 37(4): 1220 1251. Hew, C. 2003a. The Impact of Urbanization on Family Structure: The Experience of Sarawak, Malaysia. Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia (SOJOURN), 18(1): 89 109.

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149 Hew, C. 2003b. Women W orkers, Migration, and Family in Sarawak London, New York: Routledge. Huang Y. 2008. Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press Hubei Basic Data United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). (Last accessed 18 February 2008). Jingzhi, S. ed. 1988. The Economic Geography of China Oxford University Press. Jacka, T. 2005. Rura l Women in Urban China: Gender, Migration, and Social Change. New York: M.E. Sharpe. Jacka, T. 2004. Migrant Women Stories. In A. Gaetano and T. Jacka ed. 2004. On the Move: Women and Rural To Urban Migration in Contemporary China Columbia University Pres s. Johnston, R. 1979. Geography and Geographers: Anglo American Human Geography since 1945. New York: Wiley. Johnston, R., ed. 2000. The Dictionary of Human Geography Oxford, UK; Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. Karmel S. M. (1994). Emerging Securities M arkets in China: Capitalism with Chinese Characteristic. The China Quarterly 1105 1120 Kelly, P. 2002. Spaces of Labour Control: Comparative Perspectives from Southeast Asia. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers Vol. 27, No. 4, Dec, 395 411.

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150 Lawson V.A. 2000. Arguments within Geographies of Movement: The Theoretical Potential of Migrants' Stories. Progress in Human Geography 2000; 24 pp.173 189 Lee, C. 1998. Gender and the South China Miracle: Two Worlds of Factory Women University of California Press. Liang, Z. 2001. The Age of Migration in China. Population and Development Review 27 (3): 499 524. Liu, D. 2002. Seven Hubei Farmers Commit Suicide under Tax Pressure (Last accessed 18 Fe bruary 2008). McLellan, D. 2000. Karl Marx: Selected Writings 2 nd Ed. Oxford University Press. Magdoff, H. and J. Bellamy Foster. 2004. Editors' Forward. In Burkett, P. and M. Hart Landsberg.2004. Monthly Review Tra nsformation: International Massey, D. B. 2005. For Space London: Sage Merton, R., M. Fiske, and P. Kendall. 1956. The Focused Interview New York: The Free Press. Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 1994. Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discou rses. In Colonial Discourse and Post colonial Theory eds. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman. New York: Columbia University Press. pp.196 220. Mooney, P. 2005. Destination: Wuhan Wuhan Tourism Administration, South China Morning Post.

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152 Sicular, T., Y. Ximing., B. Gustafson, and L. Shi. 2007. The Urban Rural Income Gap and Inequality in China Review of Income and Wealth 53(1): 93 12 6. Silvey R. 2006. Geographies of Gender and Migration: Spatializing Social Difference. Center for Migration Studies of New York. International Migration Review 64 81. Solinger, D. 2003. Chinese Urban Jobs and the WTO. The China Journal 49: 61 87. Soling The China Quarterly 167: 671 688 Geography of Beijing. Gender, Place & Culture 15:5, 475 488 Tang, W. 199 8. Book Review of Adjusting to Capitalism: Chinese The China Quarterly 156: 1057 1059. Travel Guide : China 2008a. Wuhan Travel Guide: Fast Facts. (Last accessed 1 8 February 2008). Travel Guide: China 2008b. City Guide of Wuhan: When to G. (Last accessed 18 February 2008). Travel Guide: China 2008 c. Wuhan Travel Guide. (Last accessed 18 February 2008). United Nations Development Programme. 2009. Overcoming barriers: Human Mobility And Development. Human Development Report

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153 U.S. China Business Council. 2007. China's Economy (Last accessed 18 February 2008). Veeck, G., C. Pannell, C. Smith, and Y. Huang. 2006. China's Geography: Globalization and the Dynamics of Political, Economic, and Social Change. Rowman and Littlefield. Walk er R. and D. Buck.2007. The Chinese Road Cities in the Transition to Capitalism. New Left Review 46. pp39 65 Wan, G. 2007. Understanding Regional Poverty and Inequality Trends in China: Methodological Issues and Empirical Findings. Review of Income and Wealth 53(1); 25 34. Wang, F. 2001. Regional Density Functions and Growth Patterns in Major Plains of China, 1982 1990 Papers in Regional Science 80(2), 231 240. Wang, F. L. 1998. Floaters, Moonlighters, and the Underemployed: A National Labor Market wi th Chinese Characteristics. Journal of Contemporary China 7(19): 459. Wang, F.(1997) Chinese Labor Market in the Late 1990s. The Journal of Contemporary China Warner M. 1997.Managment Labour Relations in the New Chinese Economy. Human Resource Management Journal, 7(4): 30 43. Society. Geoforum 39 pp 1093 1096 Wolf, M. 1972. Women and the Family in Rural Taiwan Stanford University Press.

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154 Wolf, M. 1985. Revolution Postpo ned: Women in Contemporary China. Stanford University Press. Wong, D., C. Li, and H. Song. 2007. Rural Migrant Workers in Urban China: Living a Marginalized Life. International Journal of Social Welfare 16: 32 40. Wright M. 2003. Factory Daughters and Chi nese Modernity: A case from Dongguan. Geoforum 34 (3): 291 301. Zhang, F. 2004. Hubei Works to Wipe out Bird Flu (Last accessed February 18 2008). Zhang J. and Wu F. 2006. China's C hanging Economic Governance: Administrative Annexation and the Reorganization of Local Government in the Yangtze River Delta. Regional Studies 40.1. pp 3 21 Zhang, L. 2001. Contesting Crime, Order and Migrant Spaces in Beijing. In Ethnographies of the U rban in Contemporary China eds. N. Chen, C. Clark, L. Jeffery, and S. Gottschang, 201 222. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Zhao Y. 1999. Labor Migration and Earnings Differences: The Case of Rural China. Economic Development and Cultural Change 47 (4) : 767 782. Zhu, C. and P. Dowling. 2002. Staffing Practices in Transition: Some Empirical Evidence From China. International Journal of Human Resource Management 13(4): 569 597.

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155 Appendices

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156 Appendix A: Intervie w Questions Questions for interviews with workers Personal Details 1. How old are you? 2. Can you tell me about your education? 3. Are you married? When did you get married? 4. Do you have any children? 5. Do you live with your parents or in laws? 6.

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157 Appendix A: (Continued) 7. Do you have any brothers and sisters? 8. How often do you see your family? Home village 1. Where is your hometown? How far is it from Wuhan? 2. Did you go to school in your hometown? Describe facilities for schooling in your hometown. 3. Is health care available in your hometown? What kind of doctors are available in your hometown? 4. Where does your hometown get electricity and drinking water from?

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158 Appendix A: (Continued) 5. What is the main occupation of people in your homewtown? Is it agriculture, family business, factory work, or governme nt employment? 6. What is the condition of roads in your hometown? 7. What are the means of communication in your hometown? Are phones available to every household? Is there a post office in your hometown? Do yo u have access to internet facilities there? 8. Do you think men and women are treated differently in your hometown? Are men more likely to go in for higher education? Do you notice any difference between men and women her e? Migration Process: Recruitment Practices and Social Networks 1. What first made you think about migrating from your village?

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159 Appendix A: (Continued) 2. How was the migration arranged? 3. What help did locals in the village provide? 4. you have migrated to? Exp eriences of Factory Work 1. Can you tell me about your specific daily routine, including both work and leisure activities? 2. How were you recruited? What did you think of the process? How does it compare to other experience s of being recruited? 3. Did you know anyone in Wuhan? What help did locals in Wuhan provide?

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160 Appendix A: (Continued) 4. What help did the managers provide? 5. What role does your factory play in the economy of China, or the global economy? 6. How was the wage for your position decided ? 7. Do workers have a collective organization to complain to? 8. Are there wo rkers groups for recreation? Experiences of Urban Living 1. Can you tell me about your specific daily routine, including both work and leisure activities?

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161 Appendix A: (Continued) 2. What does the wor 3. Can you tell me if urban and rural lifestyle differs? 4. Do you visit urban malls? 5. Where do you prefer to shop? 6. Where do you like to spend your free time in the city? 7. How do you spend your free time in you hometown? 8. Do you go out to see movies? 9. With whom do you like to spend your free time?

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162 Appendix A: (Continued) 10. Do you think city is a safe place? 11. How does the city compare with your hometown? Experiences of Return 1. How often do you go back? 2. Do you think your status within the family has changed since your job? How has it changed 3. How do you help your family with your earnings? 4. Do you help other people from your village migrate? 5. What do people in the village think about your migration?

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1 63 Appendix A: (Continued) 6. W hat has been your overall experience of migration? Do you view your migration as positive and negative?

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Appendix B: List of In terview Participants Name Age Marital Status Number of Children Number of Siblings Level of Education Approximate Distance of Homevillage from Wuhan (km) Living Arrangements Interview Date(s) 1. Yang 20 Single 0 5 Middle school 80 Dormitory 05/11/08 06/07/08 2. Wan 19 Single 0 2 Did not finish middle school 50.5 Apartment 05/20/08 3. Rong 20 Single 0 4 Middle school 112.5 Dormitory 05/18/08 07/04/08 4. Yanzi 19 Single 0 2 Middle school 44 Dormitory 05/21/08 5. Li 18 Single 0 3 Middle school 44 Apartment 05/18/08 07/05/08 6. Bichang 18 Single 0 2 Middle school 62 Apartment 05/19/08 07/03/08 7. Wenjie 18 Single 0 2 Middle school 44 Dormitory 06/01/08 8. Yuchun 22 Single 0 4 Middle school 125 Dormitory 06/01/08 9. Shi 22 Single 0 4 Middle school 109 Apartment 05/23/08 10. Hui 19 Single 0 1 Primary school 104.5 Apartment 05/23/08 11. Shu 28 Married 1 2 Middle school 104.5 Apartment 06/18/08 12. Ming 18 Single 0 1 Primary school 50.5 Apartment 06/18/08 164

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Appendix B: (Continued) 13. Qingqing Fang 19 Single 0 3 Middle school 62 Dormitory 06/09/08 14. Zhang 23 Married 0 2 Did not finish middle school 166 Apartment 06/25/08 15. Bao 23 Single 0 2 Middle school 50.5 Apartment 06/25/08 16. Ying 18 Single 0 2 Middle school 50.5 Apartment 07/05/08 17. FengShu 18 Single 0 1 Primary school 125 Dormitory 07/07/08 18. ShengXia 26 Married 1 1 Middle school 44 Apartment 05/13/08 19. Mei 31 Married 1 2 Primary school 399 Apartment 05/13/08 20. BoBaibo 21 Single 0 2 Middle school 44 Dormitory 05/15/08 21. JiaXin 18 Single 0 2 Did not finish middle school 121 Dormitory 05/15/08 22. TongLi 20 Single 0 1 Middle school 121 Apartment 05/21/08 23. Jie 19 Single 0 1 Middle sc hool 44 Dormitory 05/11/08 24. ShanYun 20 Single 0 3 Middle school 125 Dormitory 05/26/08 06/04/08 25. JingYing 20 Single 0 2 Middle school 80 Dormitory 06/09/08 26. Yilin 20 Single 0 2 High school 80 Dormitory 06/29/08 27. Huang 22 Single 0 1 Middle school 36.5 Dormitory 05/20/08 28. KaiQi 18 Single 0 1 Middle school 50.5 Apartment 06/16/08 06/28/08 29. Luoshi 20 Single 0 2 Middle school 67 Dormitory 06/16/08 165

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Appendix B: (Continued) 30. YongQi 20 Single 0 2 Primary school 121 Dormitory 05/28/08 31. MeiZhen 20 Single 0 1 Did not finish middle school 125 Dormitory 05/11/08 32. Xi Zheng 25 Single 0 1 Middle school 44 Dormitory 06/23/08 33. Yuan 21 Single 0 1 Middle school 65 Apartment 06/23/08 34. Dan 30 Married 1 3 Middle school 44 Apartment 06/29/08 35. YueLing 27 Married 1 2 Did not finish middle school 62 Apartment 07/03/08 36. Song 32 Married 1 2 Did not finish middle school 62 Apartment 07/08/08 37. Guo 20 Single 0 4 Middle school 125 Dormitory 07/08/08 38. Yu 20 Single 0 3 Middle school 50.5 Dormitory 06/04/08 166

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167 Appendix B: (Continued) 39. Fei 22 Single 0 2 Middle school 125 Dormitory 06/04/08 40. Xue 18 Single 0 1 Middle school 125 Dormitory 06/12/08 41. Hong 19 Single 0 2 Middle school 125 Dormitory 06/12/08 42. WangXian 22 Single 0 2 Middle school 65 Dormitory 06/14/08 43. Ting 18 Single 0 2 Middle school 65 Dormitory 06/14/08 44. QiangSe 25 Single 0 2 Middle school 125 Dormitory 05/28/08 45. Yin 46 Married 3 4 Primary school 50.5 Apartment 07/09/08 46. Xiyilei 29 Married 1 3 Middle school 81 Apartment 06/20/08 47. XinXing 22 Married 1 1 Middle school 44 Apartment 06/20/08 48. XinTian 19 Single 0 2 Middle school 80 Dormitory 07/10/08 49. HaiMei 18 Single 0 2 Middle school 104.5 Dormitory 07/10/08 50. Wen 22 Single 0 1 Middle school 50.5 Dormitory 07/10/08


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Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.


Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.