Worker-intellectual unity : trans-border sociological intervention in Foxconn

Ngai PUN*, Yuan SHEN, Yuhua GUO, Huilin LU, Jenny CHAN, Mark SELDEN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


What are the implications for global public sociology and labor studies when more than a score of Foxconn workers jump to their death and when a wave of protests, riots and strikes occur in their wake? This article documents the formation of a cross-border sociological intervention project and illustrates how sociological research fueled regional campaigns that gradually developed into a global campaign. This experience confirms the premise that 'social science' should never be separated from 'politics.' The authors also shed light on how social and economic injustice was creatively challenged by combining the strengths of workers, researchers and transnational movement activists. The study uses both quantitative (semi-structured questionnaires) and qualitative (in-depth interviews and participation observation) methods to gain insights concerning the experiences, world views and collective agency of Chinese workers who are struggling to make sense of the global production regime they inhabit and to contest the forces that shape their working and social lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-222
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number2
Early online date7 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This research received grant support from RGC, ‘A New Age of World Factory: Capital Expansion, the Role of State and Foxconn Production in China’.


  • China
  • Foxconn workers
  • global public sociology
  • labor studies
  • transnational movement


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