Toward a Feminist Theory of Production Politics

Ching Kwan Lee

in Gender and the South China Miracle

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1998 | ISBN: 9780520211254
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920040 | DOI:
Toward a Feminist Theory of Production Politics

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Using the rich method of ethnography and informed by sociological theories, this book has demonstrated how diverse patterns of production politics emerge as conjunctural outcomes of the state, the labor market, and differentiated deployment of gender power. In south China, where capitalism and socialism meet, different modes of control over women workers are used by mobile capital, creating different lifeworlds of production. The ethnography focuses on two factory regimes, localistic despotism and familial hegemony, which are formed in the two plants owned and managed by the same enterprise, producing the same range of electronics products by using exactly the same technology. Whereas in Shenzhen, young migrant women workers are subjected to overt, punishment-oriented control mediated by patriarchal localistic networks, Hong Kong women workers enjoy more autonomy under a regime of covert control mediated by a set of familialistic practices.

Keywords: ethnography; production; politics; labor market; gender; China; capitalism; socialism; despotism; Hong Kong

Chapter.  4119 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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