'Just Looking': Domestic workers' consumption practice and a latent geography of Beijing

DSpace/Manakin Repository

Search OPUS

Advanced Search


My Account

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.author Sun, W
dc.date.accessioned 2012-02-02T11:04:21Z
dc.date.issued 2008-01
dc.identifier.citation Gender, Place and Culture, 2008, 15 (5), pp. 475 - 488
dc.identifier.issn 0966-369X
dc.identifier.other C1UNSUBMIT en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10453/15929
dc.description.abstract The post-socialist Chinese city has been an important site to explore the formation of modernity in its everyday shape and manifestations. A common way of understanding urban experiences is through the prism of consumption. Rural migrants in the city cannot compare with urban residents in terms of their consumption level, but they are seen to be equally enthusiastic in partaking in consumption, and their identities are also believed to be (re)shaped by consumption practices. Drawing on several years' extensive ethnographic research in Beijing, this article suggests that these scenarios cannot adequately account for the diversity and complexity of rural migrants' experience in the consuming city. In this article, I put forward a methodological argument for considering the lived spatiality of ethnographic subjects in conceiving and considering consumption. Then, through an investigation of how migrant domestic workers use urban spaces, I consider the 'dialectic of freedom and constraint' which marks their agency and their individual choices and decisions. Finally, I explore the social production of space by considering migrant domestic workers' 'subversive' behaviours within rather than in opposition to the capitalist commercial logic and space. This discussion demonstrates that consumption practices are at the same time spatial practices, and despite the many obstacles and constraints, migrant domestic workers are actively availing themselves of the opportunities that the city has to offer. This creative process is crucial if we are to gain a new and more nuanced understanding of consumption as a social practice. I further argue that it is also a process by which rural migrants hold on to their sense of dignity and self-respect in an environment of exclusion and discrimination.
dc.publisher Routledge
dc.relation.isbasedon 10.1080/09663690802300829
dc.title 'Just Looking': Domestic workers' consumption practice and a latent geography of Beijing
dc.type Journal Article
dc.parent Gender, Place and Culture
dc.journal.volume 5
dc.journal.volume 15
dc.journal.number 5 en_US
dc.publocation London, UK en_US
dc.identifier.startpage 475 en_US
dc.identifier.endpage 488 en_US
dc.cauo.name FASS.Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences en_US
dc.conference Verified OK en_US
dc.for 1604 Human Geography
dc.personcode 101631
dc.percentage 100 en_US
dc.classification.name Human Geography en_US
dc.classification.type FOR-08 en_US
dc.edition en_US
dc.custom en_US
dc.date.activity en_US
dc.location.activity en_US
dc.description.keywords consumption
dc.description.keywords migrant women
dc.description.keywords city
dc.description.keywords spatial practices
dc.description.keywords domestic worker
dc.description.keywords latent geography
pubs.embargo.period Not known
pubs.organisational-group /University of Technology Sydney
pubs.organisational-group /University of Technology Sydney/Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
pubs.organisational-group /University of Technology Sydney/Strength - Cosmopolitan Civil Societies
utslib.copyright.status Closed Access
utslib.copyright.date 2015-04-15 12:17:09.805752+10
pubs.consider-herdc false
utslib.collection.history Closed (ID: 3)

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record