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Title: Peasant workers and state interactions : a citizenship perspective
Other Titles: Cong gong min quan jiao du kan nong min gong yu guo jia zhi jian de hu dong guan xi
Authors: Jiang, Xiaoyang (蔣曉陽)
Department: Dept. of Public and Social Administration
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Peasantry -- Civil rights -- China
Notes: CityU Call Number: HD1537.C5 J525 2006
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 279-303)
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2006
viii, 303 leaves ; 30 cm.
Type: Thesis
Abstract: With the enforcement of the household registration or the hukou system in 1958, Chinese peasants have been bounded to the land and rural-urban migration was practically suspended. Since 1978, rapid agricultural and industrial development, and institutional changes brought about by the economic reform, has resulted in large-scale rural-labor mobility. It is estimated that some 120-150 million peasants are now living and working in the cities. But due to the state’s refusal to grant them an urban hukou, their status remains as the “floating population” (liudong renkou流動人口) and they usually are called “peasant workers” (nongmin gong 農民工). While paying attention to the huge disparities between peasant workers and urban citizens, the unfair treatment and discrimination that they suffer in the cities and in the workplace, the thesis will explore the dynamics of the interactions between Chinese state and peasants workers in the context of marketization, with the emphasis on institutional transformations since late 1990s. Taking citizenship as the theoretical framework, the thesis will answer such questions as follows: How does the hukou system define social status in the pre-reform period? How have the hukou and series of other relevant institutions shifted as the response to the changing social and economic situation and political-economy logic? In what ways have the institutional transformations made room for peasant workers to enjoy more rights in the cities? What role did the state play in extending citizenship rights? What is the future prospect of the attainment of citizenship for peasant workers? The thesis will provide an incremental and top-down perspective to explain the institution transformation and the extension of citizenship of peasant workers. It will argue that in the pre-reform period, the hukou system along with other socialist institutions contributed to an authoritarian citizenship model where peasants were not only excluded from the urban welfare state, they also enjoyed few civil and political rights. The advent of markets shook up the basis of the hukou, and made it possible for civil, social and political rights of peasant workers to develop in their separate ways. The rise of citizenship requires the growth of national institutions in government and law, which would shape the boundary of political community and change the basis of rights and duties. With the transformation of relevant institutions, citizenship rights could be extended to peasant migrants so that a whole range of inequalities could be ameliorated and mitigated. The institutional transformations and the extensions of citizenship have been mainly initiated by the state and achieved through the adjustments of state’s decrees, the incorporation of migrant workers into the public goods regime, reform on the hukou system, and political empowerment. These constitute a typology of state strategies which extend citizenship rights to migrant workers. The more inclusive policies toward peasants represented the shift of the state’s strategy in the changing social, economic and political context. The concerns about economic growth, social stability, and the legitimacy of the ruling party all contribute to the institutional transformations witnessed in recent years.
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