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Leading strikes in the workshop of the world : labor activists and struggles of the new working class in the Pearl River Delta

Authors Leung, Pak Nang
Issue Date 2013
Summary This dissertation focuses on the collective actions of “migrant workers” who are the major force of the new Chinese working class that helps reposition China as a “world’s workshop”. The new working class of China actively strives to alter their fate through labor struggles. In the past ten years, there have been abundant studies documenting their resistance and protest against the capitalist exploitation, particularly in the form of industrial strikes. Such collective actions have often been regarded as “unorganized and spontaneous”, and “with only legal consciousness but no class consciousness”. However, through close examination of several factory strikes in the jewelry and watch sector of the Pearl River Delta, it is found that such description is not entirely accurate. This study reveals that the key factor determining the occurrence and development of any strikes rests upon the “worker activists” who facilitate the strikes. Their experience and vision has helped this new working class conquer a new ground in terms of its organizing capacity and action deployment. This dissertation examines and re-assesses the transformation of the working class action in China under the current political and economic regimes. It contributes to the labor movement literature on how strikes emerge and transform in an authoritarian state by enhancing our understanding on the informal agency power of strike organizers in labor activism. The dissertation also points out the importance of leadership in the emerging worker movement in China.
Note Thesis (Ph.D.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2013
Language English
Format Thesis
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