In contemporary China, migrant workers have gathered in urban villages and formed communities of their own. The regulative power of the state has not fully penetrated these enclaves, thus creating opportunities for NGOs to shoulder many of the ongoing welfare responsibilities. The primary goal of this study was to explore how NGO service projects can generate a new type of disciplinary power through give-and-take practices. I argue that service projects allow the givers to transform their economic power and social resources into political power, through which social inequality is obscured, legitimised, and translated into the delivery of ‘love’, ‘caring’ and ‘compassion’. Such political power also delivers middle-class values and lifestyles to rural migrants, who feel obligated to transform their subjectivities in order to reciprocate.
- gift exchange
- Urban villages
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)