Inequality in Mobility: The Pursuit of Conjugal Intimacy for China’s Rural Migrant Women in Industrial Shenzhen

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Intercultural Studies, 2019, 40 (3), pp. 302 - 317
Issue Date:
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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Existing studies of dagongmei (China’s rural migrant woman workers) tend to situate them in the space of industrial production and, to a lesser extent, the site of everyday life. But we still do not know how their gender and mobility impact on their capacity to achieve personal intimacy; nor is it clear what social, economic and cultural forces may impede their search for it. This paper explores these questions by drawing on longitudinal ethnographic interactions with migrant women in Shenzhen who work for Foxconn–the world’s biggest multi-national electronics manufacturer. Focusing on the stories of three women, this discussion shifts the analysis of the body and labour from the public to the private sphere, thereby attempting to shed light on the link between intimacy, emotion and inequality in China’s capitalist industrial regime.
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