Continuity and change in the everyday lives of Chinese migrant factory workers

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


How have Chinese migrant workers’ patterns of everyday life changed over the past two decades, and what has not changed? Have their personal and career aspirations shifted over time? What changes have occurred in how they maintain social relationships within and across factories? What are the implications for migrant workers, local governance and factory managements? Based on workers’ letters and ethnographic research in Shenzhen, this article argues that migrant workers encounter very different circumstances today in their housing, food, time scheduling, aspirations and ways of maintaining social relationships. yet young migrant workers still invoke social relationships steeped in links to family and village to cope with daily difficulties. I examine the workers’ greater control over their time, local governments’ growing need to accommodate migrant workers’ requirements in order to maintain social stability, and the increasing pressure on factory managements to consider workers’ work/leisure arrangements, especially during peak industrial seasons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-65
Number of pages23
JournalChina Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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