China at Work: A Labor Process Perspective on the Transformation of Work and Employment in China

Edited by Mingwei Liu and Chris Smith
Image of China at Work book cover
Bringing together leading authorities and emerging young researchers, this edited textbook is aimed at students and scholars interested in the Chinese workplace and the impact that China is having on work internationally. Part of the Critical Perspectives on Work and Employment series, it is the first textbook to use labor process analysis to examine work and employment in China. This book discusses key features and contrasts in employment and labor conditions within China, as well as reviewing the impact of Chinese firms operating outside of China.

As the first collection to explicitly use labor process theory as an orienting perspective, this book is ideal for students and scholars interested in what is becoming the most significant country in the global economy.

Published by Palgrave-Macmillan

Table of Contents

  1. In Search of the Labor Process Perspective in China | Chris Smith and Mingwei Liu
Part I: Work and Employment by Sector and Firm
  1. Control and Consent in the Process of Employee Participation in a Chinese State-owned Enterprise - the Case of BZ Iron and Steel Company | Mengjie Lu
  2. Workers under Disorganized Despotism: A Case from State-Owned Shipbuilding Industry | Lefeng Lin
  3. The Making of Dualistic Labor Regime: Changing Labor Process and Power Relations in a Chinese State-Owned-Enterprise under Globalization | Wenjuan Jia
  4. Prolonged Selection or Extended Flexibility? A case study of Japanese Subsidiaries in China | Yu Zheng
  5. The Self-organization of Women Workers in the Informal Sector of the Garment Industry: a Study of Female-led Cooperative Production Teams in the Yangtze River Delta Region of China | Lulu Fan
  6. Contingent Work in the Chinese Call Centre Sector | Xiangmin Liu and Can Ouyang
  7. Power, Space, and Subjectivity in a Transnational Garment Factory in China | Jaesok Kim
Part II: Labour Market Institutions: Unions and Collective Bargaining
  1. Employer Responses to Labor Shortage in China: the Case of the Knitwear Industry | Hao Zhang
  2. Collective Consultation in China: A Comparative Study of Two Auto Companies | Fuxi Wang and Mingwei Liu
  3. Direct Elections of Workplace Trade Unions in China: Implications for the changing labor regime | Chris Chan and Elaine Hui
Part III: Strikes and Labor Activism
  1. A Pathway to a Vital Labor Movement in China? A Case Study of a Union-Led Protest against Walmart | Chunyun Li and Mingwei Liu
  2. Strikes and Workplace Collective Bargaining in the Auto Parts Industry in Guangzhou | Yunxue Deng
Part IV: Work and Employment in the Overseas Chinese Firm
  1. Foxconn beyond China: Capital-labor Relations as Co-determinants of Internationalization | Rutvica Andrijasevic and Sacchetto Devi
  2. The Management of Labor in Chinese MNCs Operating Outside of China: a Critical Review | Chris Smith and Yu Zheng


“This volume is, to my mind, a must-read for Chinese labor scholars and others interested in labor process theory, labor politics, and labor relations more generally. I have found these case studies very useful in my courses on East Asian development and social change.”

– Frederic C. Deyo (Binghamton University), ILR Review, Vol. 71(2)