Against the Law: Labor Protests in China's Rustbelt and Sunbelt

Lee, Ching Kwan

Published by University of California Press, 2007
ISBN 10: 0520232224 / ISBN 13: 9780520232228
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Synopsis: This study opens a critical perspective on the slow death of socialism and the rebirth of capitalism in the world's most dynamic and populous country. Based on remarkable fieldwork and extensive interviews in Chinese textile, apparel, machinery, and household appliance factories, Against the Law finds a rising tide of labor unrest mostly hidden from the world's attention. Providing a broad political and economic analysis of this labor struggle together with fine-grained ethnographic detail, the book portrays the Chinese working class as workers' stories unfold in bankrupt state factories and global sweatshops, in crowded dormitories and remote villages, at street protests as well as in quiet disenchantment with the corrupt officialdom and the fledgling legal system.

From the Inside Flap: "For anyone interested in the world of labor today, there is no more important case than that of China. Ching Kwan Lee's rich ethnographic account takes us inside the largely hidden world of labor protest in the world's largest, most dynamic economy. Her nuanced comparison of the Chinese 'sunbelt' and 'rustbelt' and her emphasis on the centrality of the law and the discourse of legal 'rights' to Chinese labor politics are especially compelling. Against the Law is a thoughtful, provocative book that deserves a prominent place on every labor scholar's bookshelf."—Ruth Milkman, author of L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers And the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement

"Based upon impressive ethnographic research in multiple Chinese settings, this book reveals key regional differences in patterns of protest among China's restive workers. Professor Lee's important findings not only complicate our understanding of labor unrest; they also carry significant implications for the development of citizenship and legal reform in contemporary China."—Elizabeth J. Perry, author of Patrolling the Revolution

"The book is based on simply the best field research yet done on Chinese workers' politics. Prof. Lee has gotten down and dirty with a wide range of workers. The interviews that make up so much of the rich narrative alone are worth the price of the book and the time invested in reading it. But there is more: the analysis is important, persuasive, balanced, and clear. It rings true."—Marc Blecher, author of China Against the Tides

"This is an amazing book that will have a dramatic impact on people's view of China, exposing the underside of China's incredible growth, and the human sacrifice that may be as great as 'The Great Leap Forward' or Mao's Cultural Revolution. What we witness here is the Chinese working class being present in its own unmaking and remaking, its struggle to come to terms with the present through the lens of the past, and, finally, its uncertain hope for the future. This is one of the most important books I've read in years!"—Michael Burawoy, Department of Sociology, University of California Berkeley

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Title: Against the Law: Labor Protests in China's ...
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2007
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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