Economic Transition and Popular Resistance in China

By Julia Chuang , Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley; Eli Friedman, Department of Sociology, Cornell University; Ho-Fung Hung, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University

Monday, February 24, 2014
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
History Conference Room, 6275 Bunche

China is in the midst of a disruptive transformation, seeking to definitively transcend the global economic crisis of 2007-2009, while moving from a world-beating economy oriented to manufacturing exports to a re-structured one depending on a dynamic domestic market. Our speakers will analyze this historic transition, and consider the intensifying social and political struggles accompanying it. In the lead-up to the economic meltdown, Chinese workers were on the march, fighting to improve living standards and working conditions while forming new labor organizations. One major focus of the session will be on how the slowing economy is affecting the emerging workers movement.  Another will be on how class conflict in the countryside has evolved. The central government's "New Socialist Countryside" campaign has been accompanied by an enormous wave of land expropriations. Our presenters will discuss the ways the state has sought to derail the resulting peasant resistance, while rendering newly-created landless proletarians more easily subject to exploitation in urban employment. A central underlying theme of the entire colloquium will be the implications of worker and peasant protest in the localities for political developments inside the Communist Party and central state.
Julia Chuang has done extensive fieldwork in the Chinese countryside. Her “China's Rural Land Politics: Bureaucratic Absorption and the Muting of Rightful Resistance” is forthcoming in The China Quarterly.
Eli Friedman is the author of numerous articles on the Chinese workers movement, including “China in Revolt” in Jacobin. A Magazine of Culture and Polemic  (2012).
Ho-Fung Hung is the author of the award winning Protest with Chinese Characteristics: Demonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty (Columbia, 2011) and editor of China and the Transformation of Global Capitalism (Johns Hopkins, 2009).  
For more information call
Center for Social Theory and Comparative History
(310) 206-5675 or email:

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies, Center for Social Theory and Comparative History

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