Globalization, Structural Reform, and Labour Politics in China

  • Marc Blecher Oberlin College
Keywords: China, globalization, labour politics, labour protest, Tianjin,


To analyze the relationship between globalization and labour protest, this paper compares labour politics in three regions: the highly globalized southeast ‘sunbelt’, the relatively less ‘reformed’, barely globalized, and decaying Manchurian rustbelt, and the broadly ‘reformed’ but only partially globalized and still largely domestically-oriented areas that make up most of the rest of the country, represented in this chapter by the city of Tianjin, the site of the author’s field research. For each, we will identify key dimensions of labour politics. This political configuration forms our explanandum, which is fleshed out region by region. The paper then seeks the explanans of these salient similarities and differences, focusing on the key question of resistance.