Poetry of labour and (Dis)articulation of class: China's worker-poets and the cultural politics of boundaries

Publisher:
Routledge
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Contemporary China, 2012, 21 (78), pp. 993 - 1010
Issue Date:
2012-01
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'Dagong' means 'working for the boss', and bespeaks the commodification of labour. Over the past two and a half decades, a minor literary genre has emerged from this dagong community, documenting the crushing effect of the industrial machine on the body and soul of rural migrant workers. This paper considers the paradoxical process of class formation and class dissipation through the prism of the debates and commentaries surrounding workers' poetry from elite cultural institutions and worker-poets themselves. This discussion suggests that these commentaries and debates constitute both class articulations and disarticulations, and together they point to the precariousness of the formation of worksing-class consciousness in contemporary China.
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