Incomplete Subjects: Circular Migration and the Life and Death Struggles of the Migrant Workers in China

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This chapter attempts to engage in the debate of circular migration in a global context by looking at the internal migration of Chinese workers from the rural to urban areas in general and the lived experience of the low and semi-skilled migrant workers at the industrial workplace, in particular at the Foxconn Technology Group. In this sense, this chapter analyzes critically the effects of circular migration in China that create adverse impacts on the lives of the rural migrants both in the sphere of production and reproduction. By putting in a class perspective in the circular migration studies, this paper hopes to enrich the debate on circular migration from a non-western perspective as well as to provide a better understanding of the lived struggles of the migrant workers from the bottom. This study focuses on the emergence of a new Chinese migrant working class who is now developed into its second generation at a time when China rapidly turns itself into a “world factory”, and facilitates an approach to the reality of migrant workers, showing that negative experiences of circular migration to its extreme may even cause suicides of the youth migrant workers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImpact of Circular Migration on Human, Political and Civil Rights: A Global Perspective
EditorsCarlota SOLÉ, Sonia PARELLA, Teresa SORDÉ MARTÍ, Sonja NITA
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319288963
ISBN (Print)9783319288949, 9783319804514
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameUnited Nations University Series on Regionalism
PublisherUNU-CRIS and Springer
ISSN (Print)2214-9848
ISSN (Electronic)2214-9856

Bibliographical note

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016


  • Circular migration
  • China
  • Internal migration
  • Working class
  • Foxconn case
  • “World factory”
  • Suicide
  • Proletarianization
  • Identity
  • Social exclusion


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