Gender in factory life : an ethnographic study of migrant workers in Shenzhen Foxconn

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Gender in factory life : an ethnographic study of migrant workers in Shenzhen Foxconn

 

Author: Deng, Yunxue
Title: Gender in factory life : an ethnographic study of migrant workers in Shenzhen Foxconn
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2012
Subject: Migrant labor -- China -- Shenzhen (Guangdong Sheng : East)
Gender identity -- China -- Shenzhen (Guangdong Sheng : East)
Foxconn International Holdings Ltd.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: ii, 114 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2615851
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6959
Abstract: This thesis explores the gender identities of a new generation of migrant workers. Using a study of Foxonn workers in Shenzhen, various issues are investigated: the development of masculinity and femininity among migrant workers on the shop floor, as well as love, sex, marriage and the expectations of workers in their daily lives. Previous studies show that gender is important in export-oriented industrialization in China's coastal areas. In the first decades of the reform period, transnational production in Mainland China was organized around the image of "dagongmei" -young, industrious and obedient female workers. However, according to the fieldwork of this study, the situation has significantly changed. In the case of Foxconn, men constitute about 63 percent of the total workforce, the dominant workers on the assembly line. This shift involves important changes in the structure of work organization as well as the gendered subjectivities of migrant workers. While Foxconn management attempts to see employees as de-gendered workers, male workers try to redefine and reconstruct their masculinity through rough language, flirting and even sexual harassment. As a result, the complicated struggles over gendered meanings can disrupt managerial control. Moreover, this thesis also explores workers' lives, particularly workers' decisions and expectations regarding love, sex and marriage. Based on an ethnographic study of Foxconn workers, this thesis argues that work experience, love, sex and family life are inter-related aspects of workers' lives that contribute to the contradictory and fragmented gendering processes of the new generation of migrant workers in China.

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