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From Iron Rice Bowl to InformalizationMarkets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China$
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Sarosh Kuruvilla, Ching Kwan Lee, and Mary E. Gallagher

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450242

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450242.001.0001

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Permanent Temporariness in the Chinese Construction Industry

Permanent Temporariness in the Chinese Construction Industry

(p.138) Chapter 7 Permanent Temporariness in the Chinese Construction Industry
From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization

Sarah Swider

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the Chinese construction industry. It details how market forces and changes in industry configurations have led to a significant growth in informal employment. Moreover, there is considerable variation in how the employment of informal migrants is structured. Migrants are often in a state of “permanent temporariness,” where they are neither strongly tied to their home communities nor integrated into their host communities. These findings are based on qualitative research conducted in Beijing in 2004–2005. In addition to participant observation at several construction job sites, enclaves, nongovernmental agencies (NGOs), and street labor markets, interviews were conducted with migrant workers, managers, labor contractors, NGO workers, lawyers, and government officials. These data are supplemented with secondary data from newspapers, scholarly journals, and organizational documents.

Keywords:   China, Chinese construction industry, informal employment, informal employees, labor market, migrant workers

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