Migration, Social Institutions, and Popular Resistance in Rural China

Migration, Social Institutions, and Popular Resistance in Rural China

Yao Lu - Associate Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Room 203, Henry R. Luce Hall See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511

How does migration shape collective resistance in migrant-sending communities (i.e. rural China)? This study integrates perspectives from social movements and migration to develop a framework in which migration simultaneously influences the cognitive and social foundation of collective action. The study draws on several data sources: a longitudinal rural survey, in-depth interviews, and a case study of Wukan. Results show that migrants act as a vehicle of political transmission and spur collective resistance in rural China, but the role of migration differs by the form and scale of collective action and is conditioned by local social institutions. The role of migration is discussed in the context of distinct institutional arrangements in China, which were originally engineered to disenfranchise rural-origin people but have paradoxically politicized and emancipated migrants and peasants alike.

Professor Lu received her MS in public health and PhD in sociology from UCLA. Her research focuses on how migration intersects with social and political processes in China. Her current work examines how migration affects the political consciousness and collective action of people who remain in rural China, how the feminization of migration reconfigures gender attitudes and practices in rural areas, and how the migration of parents shapes family dynamics and the well-being of left-behind children.

Professor Lu’s recent publications on China include “Female Migration, Cultural Context, and Son Preference in Rural China,” Population Research and Policy Review (2015); “Emigration from China in Comparative Perspective,” Social Forces (2013); “From General Discrimination to Segmented Inequality: Migration and Inequality in Urban China,” Social Science Research (2013); “Social Capital and Economic Integration of Migrants in Urban China,” Social Networks (2013); “Academic and Psychological Well-being of Migrant Children in China: School Segregation and Segmented Assimilation,” Comparative Education Review (2013); and “Education of Children Left Behind in Rural China,” Journal of Marriage and Family (2012).