Peasant labour for urban industry: Temporary contract labour, urban-rural balance and class relations in a Chinese county
Urban-rural relations in China have a dual character: while a higher level of urban-rural economic balance than most other countries has been achieved, a sharp structural cleavage between workers and peasants has been maintained, based mainly on strict household registrations. Peasants are prevented from migrating to towns and gaining employment there, except under specially approved contracts arranged to resolve local shortages of industrial labour. Contract labour has complex and important effects on rural and urban industrial development. It also embodies the duality of urban-rural relations in China: at the same time as it redistributes wage funds from urban to rural areas, it reinforces the class cleavage between workers and peasants (including contract workers). It also opens up a complex web of inequalities and cleavages among those peasants with contract work and those without. Contract workers have been placed in a contradictory class position which has been a flashpoint of political conflict. The relationships of contract labour to urban industrial and rural development, urbanization, urban-rural balance and structural cleavage, class structure and political conflict are examined through a study of Shulu County, an ordinary rural area with agrowing industrial centre in which over half of the industrial labour force is comprised of peasant contract workers.
Blecher, Marc J. 1983. "Peasant Labour for Urban Industry: Temporary Contract Labour, Urban-Rural Balance and Class Relations in a Chinese County." World Development 11(8): 731-745.
East Asian Studies