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In this rich comparative ethnography, Lee describes how two radically different factory cultures have emerged from a period of profound economic change. In Hong Kong, "matron workers" remain in factories for decades. In Guangdong, a seemingly endless number of young "maiden workers" travel to the south from northern provinces, following the promise of higher wages. Whereas the women in Hong Kong participate in a management system characterized by "familial hegemony," the young women in Guangdong find an internal system of power based on regional politics and kin connections, or "localistic despotism."
Having worked side-by-side with these women on the floors of both factories, Lee concludes that it is primarily the differences in the gender politics of the two labor markets that determine the culture of each factory. Posing an ambitious challenge to sociological theories that reduce labor politics to pure economics or state power structures, Lee argues that gender plays a crucial role in the cultures and management strategies of factories that rely heavily on women workers.
|List of Illustrations|
|1||Two Worlds of Labor in South China||1|
|2||Engendering Production Politics in Global Capitalism||14|
|3||Economic Restructuring and the Remaking of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Nexus||36|
|4||Social Organization of the Labor Market in Shenzhen||67|
|5||Social Organization of the Labor Market in Hong Kong||90|
|8||Toward a Feminist Theory of Production Politics||160|
|Methodological App.: The Ethnographic Labyrinth||171|