This study opens a critical perspective on the slow death of socialism and the rebirth of capitalism in the world's most dynamic and populous country. Based on remarkable fieldwork and extensive interviews in Chinese textile, apparel, machinery, and household appliance factories, "Against the Law" finds a rising tide of labor unrest mostly hidden from the world's attention. Providing a broad political and economic analysis of this labor struggle together with fine-grained ethnographic detail, the book portrays the Chinese working class as workers' stories unfold in bankrupt state factories and global sweatshops, in crowded dormitories and remote villages, at street protests as well as in quiet disenchantment with the corrupt officialdom and the fledgling legal system.
Ching Kwan Lee is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is author of Gender and the South China Miracle: Two Worlds of Factory Women (UC Press) and editor of Working in China: Ethnographies of Labor and Workplace Transformation and Re-envisioning the Chinese Revolution: The Politics and Poetics of Collective Memories in Contemporary China (with Guobin Yang).
Preface PART I: DECENTRALIZED LEGAL AUTHORITARIANISM 1. Chinese Workers' Contentious Transition from State Socialism 2. Stalled Reform: Between Social Contract and Legal Contract PART II: RUSTBELT: PROTESTS OF DESPERATION 3. The Unmaking of Mao's Working Class in the Rustbelt 4. Life after Danwei: Surviving Enterprise Collapse PART III: SUNBELT: PROTESTS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION 5. The Making of New Labor in the Sunbelt 6. Dagong as a Way of Life PART IV: CONCLUSION 7. Chinese Labor Politics in Comparative Perspective Methodological Appendix: Fieldwork in Two Provinces Notes Bibliography Index