Kaxton Siu recently visited the Global Development Institute to discuss his new forthcoming book ‘Chinese Migrant Workers and Employer Domination: Comparisons with Hong Kong and Vietnam’. Kaxton Siu is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.
This talk explores three major changes in the circumstances of the migrant working class in south China over the past three decades, from historical and comparative perspectives. It examines the rise of a male migrant working population in the export industries, a shift in material and social lives of migrant workers, and the emergence of a new non-coercive factory regime in the industries. Drawing on fieldwork regarding Hong Kong-invested garment factories in south China, Hong Kong and Vietnam, alongside factory-gate surveys in China and Vietnam, this talk examines how and why the circumstances of workers in these localities are dissimilar even when under the same type of factory ownership. In analyzing workers’ lives within and outside factories, and the expansion of global capitalism in East and Southeast Asia, the talk contributes to research on production politics and everyday life practice, and an understanding of how global and local forces interact.
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