"Northern Girls": Cultural Politics of Agency and South China's Migrant Literature

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Journal Article
Asian Studies Review, 2014, 38 (2), pp. 168 - 185
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This paper is concerned with the cultural politics of agency, and explores the relationship between cultural form, migrant experience and social change. It traces the emergence of a range of literary forms in south China and how these new cultural forms provide hitherto unavailable space to contest the state- and market-driven narratives, which tend to link dagongmei's (rural migrant women's) sexuality with inexperience and vulnerability on the one hand, and criminality, immorality and incivility on the other. The paper suggests that these newly emerging cultural forms present alternative perspectives on the practical circumstances, moral rationalities and emotional consequences that condition and shape migrant women's sexual experience, and for this reason, they constitute important points of intervention. © 2014 Asian Studies Association of Australia.
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