Miriam Driessen speaks at Queen's University, Belfast
30 August 2016
On 18 August 2016 Miriam Driessen was invited to speak at the conference ‘Affective Apocalypses and Millennial Well-being’, organized by the J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, at Queen’s University Belfast. She presented a paper on xiaokang, and the engineering of wellbeing in China.
Professor Rachel Murphy speaks at the College of Economics, Jinan University
16 August 2016
From 12th to 15th July 2016 Rachel Murphy participated in a conference supported by the British Council and the China National Science Foundation on migration and urbanisation in China and Europe, which aimed to forge links between scholars based in UK and China. The conference was held at the College of Economics, Jinan University, Guangzhou and was co-hosted by University of Leeds (Heather Zhang) and Jinan University in Guangzhou (Chunchao Wang). Rachel was a key-note speaker and senior mentor for the conference.
Dr Jennifer Holdaway joins the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies
16 August 2016
The School extends a warm welcome to Dr Jennifer Holdaway who has recently joined SIAS as a Senior Research Fellow.
Jennifer has come from the SSRC in New York where she worked as a Programme Officer and China Representative. Jennifer has spent many years undertaking research and co-ordinating research networks in China, and she has written extensively about health and the environment in China. Internal and international migration and international education are other key interests.
She is based much of the year in Beijing and welcomes faculty and students from the School to get in touch with her if they plan to visit. To find out more about her profile and present research projects, please see our People pages.
Jenny Chan speaks at “Critical Capacities: Media Workers, Labour and Action”
29 July 2016
The 2016 conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), hosted by the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester, will be held from July 27-31 in Leicester, United Kingdom. The one-day event, “Critical Capacities: Media Workers, Labour and Action,” brought together leading media academics and activists to critically examine current trends and trajectories in global worlds of media work, and to present strategies and solutions for improving and enhancing conditions of media and cultural production.
Location: Curve Theatre, Leicester, UK - http://www.curveonline.co.uk/
Date and time: Tuesday 26 July 09:15 - 18:00
Contact: Mark Banks, University of Leicester
Organisers: Mark Banks, University of Leicester; Rick Maxwell, CUNY; Kate Oakley, University of Leeds
The motif of ‘critical capacity’ invites reflection on both the current inequalities, intensities and extremities of over-loaded and under-rewarded media and cultural work and the modes of redress, advocacy and action currently available to the media worker.
Speakers included: Jenny Chan, Bridget Conor, Kirsten Forkert, Hayley Hare, Alison Harvey, David Hesmondhalgh, Sarita Malik, Lisa McLaughlin, Toby Miller, Dave O’Brien, Jonathan Corpus Ong, Anamik Saha, Stevphen Shukaitis, Tom Taylor, Charles Umney.
Chan, Jenny, Ngai Pun and Mark Selden. 2016. “Chinese Labor Protest and Trade Unions.” Pp. 290-302 in The Routledge Companion to Labor and Media, edited by Richard Maxwell. New York: Routledge.
Jenny Chan presents at two public events in Leeds
4 July 2016
On 23 June 2016 ESRC (Economic & Social Research Council) Seminar Series entitled “Migrants, Workplace and Community: Learning from Innovation in Civil Society (2016-2018),” Jenny Chan spoke at the Leeds City Museum, alongside distinguished presenters Jane Wills (Queen Mary University of London), Jane McAlevey (Harvard University), Janice Fine (Rutgers University) and Carlos Saavedra (Anyi Institute). The series reflects on the interface of workplace and community, paying attention to the conditions of migrant workers. The multi-university seminar organizers are Davide Pero (University of Nottingham), Marek Korczynski (University of Nottingham), Jane Holgate (University of Leeds), Bridget Anderson (University of Oxford), Don Flynn (Migrants’ Rights Network), Stefania Marino (University of Manchester), Miguel Martinez Lucio (University of Manchester), and Cathy McIlwaine (Queen Mary University of London).
On the 66th BUIRA (British Universities Industrial Relations Association) Conference, Jenny Chan, William Brown (University of Cambridge), and Sarosh Kuruvilla (Cornell University) presented at the plenary session entitled “Current Issues of Chinese Industrial Relations,” chaired by Mark Stuart (University of Leeds), 30 June. Together they addressed the debates about the transformation of China in the world economy, the changing state-labor relations, the trade union reforms, and the growing worker protests. Overall, the BUIRA 2016 Conference (29 June to 1 July) aimed to discuss the prospects and opportunities for employment relations towards 2020.
Jenny Chan, Lecturer of Sociology and China Studies (2014-present) and Junior Research Fellow (2015-2018) of Kellogg College, acknowledges the funding support of the John Fell Fund Oxford University Press (OUP) Research Fund for her project, “Learning for Jobs: Internship, Vocational Education, and the Law in China.”
Jenny Chan publishes in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies
22 June 2016
Abstract: To enrich the discussion of global labor, between 2010 and 2016, we studied Apple’s value chain, Foxconn’s mode of labor control, and Chinese workers’ struggles. Through our fieldwork in China we also examined Apple’s and Foxconn’s responses to the spate of worker suicides, workers’ resistance, the activism of scholar and student groups, and transnational justice campaigns. We conclude with reflection on global labor studies in light of the debates between Karl Polanyi’s counter movement and Karl Marx’s class-based struggle.
To cite this article: PUN Ngai, SHEN Yuan, GUO Yuhua, LU Huilin, Jenny Chan & Mark Selden. 2016. “Apple, Foxconn, and Chinese workers’ struggles from a global labor perspective.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 17(2): 166-185.
To download this article: Please click here
CONTACT: Jenny Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com
SIAS Green Impact Team goes GOLD!
16 June 2016
On Wednesday 15th June, the University’s Environmental Sustainability Team invited us all to the Blavatnik School of Government for their annual Sustainability Showcase.
We are proud to announce that the School’s Green Impact Team were presented with a Gold award – the highest accolade possible within the Green Impact scheme.
The Showcase is an opportunity to distribute awards to the numerous Green Impact teams and others involved in sustainability practices for their achievements over the past year and this year’s event was described by Professor William James, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources) as “the biggest celebration of social and environmental actions…at Oxford University ever” joining together the Sustainability Awards and the Social Impact Awards for the very first time.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson said “There really is an extraordinary amount of work taking place in the University, both within the Departments and most particularly across them, which is really very exciting.”
The evening itself not only gave us the chance to celebrate our achievements, but also to take part in a tour of the recently opened Blavatnik School of Government at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter. The building was designed and built with energy efficiency and sustainability targets at the fore and is expected to consume 49% less energy in comparison to existing UK buildings of the same size and usage. It has received a “BREEAM Excellent”* rating and incorporates a multitude of environmental systems in its design.
After the awards, we were all able to celebrate with a glass of sparkling wine and canapes from a local sustainable menu.
We would like to express our great thanks to the Environmental Sustainability Team for all of their support in helping us and other Green Impact teams achieve our goals over the past year and for organising such a wonderful event; we can’t wait to start again next term!
If you are a member of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, staff or student, and would be interested in finding out more about the initiative or being part of the team, please contact us for details:
Jenny Chan contributed to openDemocracy's (Beyond Trafficking and Slavery, BTS) 2016 special issue on “Governing Global Supply Chains”
14 June 2016
Beyond Trafficking and Slavery is an editorial partnership between openDemocracy and researchers from Africa, Asia, America, Australia and Europe. It challenges both the empty sensationalism of mainstream media accounts of exploitation and domination, and the hollow, technocratic policy responses promoted by businesses and politicians.
The International Labour Conference (ILC) is the annual assembly of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The ILO is the ‘labour arm’ of the United Nations and its job is to set the rules governing the world’s working conditions. Why is ILC 2016 so important? Because for the first time since much of the world economy was re-organised into global supply chains, the ILO will feature a discussion about how that economy should or shouldn’t be regulated in the interests of decent work and social justice.
For more details about the International Labour Conference 2016, “Governing Global Supply Chains?”, please click here.
Jenny Chan publishes a chapter in Achieving Workers’ Rights in the Global Economy
31 May 2016
Jenny Chan has published a co-authored chapter in Achieving Workers’ Rights in the Global Economy, edited by Richard P. Appelbaum and Nelson Lichtenstein (2016, Cornell University Press). Details are available here.
About the book
The world was shocked in April 2013 when more than 1,100 garment workers lost their lives in the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka. It was the worst industrial tragedy in the two-hundred-year history of mass apparel manufacture. This so-called accident was, in fact, just waiting to happen, and not merely because of the corruption and exploitation of workers so common in the garment industry. In Achieving Workers' Rights in the Global Economy, Richard P. Appelbaum and Nelson Lichtenstein argue that such tragic events, as well as the low wages, poor working conditions, and voicelessness endemic to the vast majority of workers who labor in the export industries of the global South arise from the very nature of world trade and production.
Given their enormous power to squeeze prices and wages, northern brands and retailers today occupy the commanding heights of global capitalism. Retail-dominated supply chains—such as those with Walmart, Apple, and Nike at their heads—generate at least half of all world trade and include hundreds of millions of workers at thousands of contract manufacturers from Shenzhen and Shanghai to Sao Paulo and San Pedro Sula. This book offers an incisive analysis of this pernicious system along with essays that outline a set of practical guides to its radical reform.
Mark Anner, Penn State University;
Richard P. Appelbaum, University of California, Santa Barbara;
Jennifer Bair, University of Colorado Boulder;
Renato Bignami, labor inspector, Brazil;
Jeremy Blasi, UNITE HERE Local 11, Los Angeles;
Anita Chan, Australian National University;
Jenny Chan, University of Oxford;
Jill Esbenshade, San Diego State University;
Gary Gereffi, Duke University;
Jeff Hermanson, International Union League for Brand Responsibility;
Jason Kibbey, Sustainable Apparel Coalition;
Nelson Lichtenstein, University of California, Santa Barbara;
Xubei Luo, World Bank;
Anne Caroline Posthuma, International Labour Organization;
Scott Nova, Worker Rights Consortium;
Ngai Pun, Hong Kong Polytechnic University;
Katie Quan, University of California, Berkeley;
Brishen Rogers, Temple University;
Robert J. S. Ross, Clark University;
Mark Selden, Cornell University and New York University;
Chris Wegemer, Santa Barbara, California
Patricia Thornton's debate chosen as "Pick of the Week" by BBC Radio 4
19 May 2016
Professor Patricia Thornton's debate with historian Frank Dikotter on Free Thinking was named a "Pick of the Week" by BBC Radio 4. It also features Professor Rana Mitter, Director of the China Centre at the University of Oxford, as host of the roundtable session. You can listen by clicking the Pick of the Week title, or by clicking here, and runs from 13.43-17.43.
Paul Irwin Crookes takes part in a RUSI roundtable examining East Asian security issues
18 May 2016
Paul Irwin Crookes recently took part in a roundtable discussion examining the security implications of China’s current political and military posture in the East Asia region. Held in London and organised by the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), the workshop brought together academic specialists from the UK and North America with stakeholders from the military and security communities to explore the latest research thinking on this important topic. Subjects reviewed included the potential security consequences of China’s economic vulnerabilities, the political dimensions of China’s military modernisation, and a risk assessment of transnational regional relations.
Jenny Chan presents “Wage Default in China” at Middlesex University
11 May 2016
On 9 May 2016 Jenny Chan presented at the “Unpaid Britain” Typology Workshop at Middlesex University, London. She reported that each year 2 to 3 million Chinese rural migrant workers were not paid, according to the latest national survey findings. In total, 27,159 million yuan were owed to rural migrants in 2015, and the total should go up because the affected local workers were not taken into account. The aggrieved labourers have filed their claims to local arbitration committees, while the others have gone on strike, alerting the stability-obsessed officials at all levels. As China’s economy is slowing, the Guangdong government has taken the first step to freeze its local minimum wages for two years. Social protection over workers’ fundamental rights, including the payment of wages and insurance benefits, is still much wanting.
Please click here for details about the Unpaid Britain project, led by Nick Clark.
Jenny Chan interviewed on Bloomberg
5 May 2016
“The fact they let a reporter in shows that they are responding to external pressure and trying to be more transparent—at least on the surface they’re trying to fix something,” said Jenny Chan, a lecturer at Oxford’s School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies and Kellogg College. “But they’re still not telling us more about how they run the business, the whole labor system.”
Read more: “Inside One of the World’s Most Secretive iPhone Factories—An Exclusive Look into a Plant Where Apple Addressed Claims of Excess Overtime,” Bloomberg, 25 April 2016 (by Shai Oster).
Paul Irwin Crookes publishes article in ‘The RUSI Journal’ on cross-Taiwan Strait security issues
5 May 2016
Paul Irwin Crookes has just published an article in The RUSI Journal of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies entitled “The Political and Security Nexus of the Taiwan Strait and China’s New Military Capabilities”.
The article analyses the political and security implications for relations between Beijing and Taipei in light of the recent elections in Taiwan. Concurrent with outlining the nature of this political change and the uncertainties this introduces, Paul evaluates evidence of a shift in the balance of military power across the Taiwan Strait, potentially changing the dynamics of decision-making in the event of future conflict.
For further details please see here.
Dr Miriam Driessen publishes in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
18 April 2016
Dr Driessen's article,"Pushed to Africa: Emigration and Social Change in China" has appeared in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and is available online.
Professor Rachel Murphy presents research at the University of Western Australia
14 April 2016
On 13th April Rachel Murphy gave a seminar presentation on "Children Living in Multi-Local Families in Rural China: Reflections on Gender Differences" in the Department of Economics at the University of Western Australia. This was attended by faculty and students from the Economics Department and the Sociology and Anthropology Department. Rachel has been an academic visitor at UWA over the Easter break where she has benefited from talking with economists of China and with economic and anthropological demographers as she continues to work on a monograph about rural Chinese children whose parents have migrated without them.
Dr Miriam Driessen joins the Contemporary China Studies Programme
11 April 2016
SIAS extends a warm welcome to Dr Miriam Driessen who this April joined the Contemporary China Studies Programme as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. Further information about Miriam and her research interests can be found here.
Jenny Chan presented in the 2016 European Social Science History Conference
6 April 2016
The International Institute for Social History successfully organized the 11th European Social Science History Conference at University of Valencia, Spain, 30 March – 2 April. Jenny Chan presented her paper in the “Globalization, Work and Labor in Asia” panel, along with Nandini Gooptu (University of Oxford) and Raka Ray (University of California – Berkeley). Ratna Saptari (University of Leiden) chaired the two-hour session and facilitated the discussions.
Jenny Chan’s research entitled “Learning for Jobs: Internship, Vocational Education, and the Law in China” is supported by the John Fell Oxford University Press (OUP) Research Fund (ref no. 152/015).
Jenny Chan awarded the John Fell OUP Research Fund
10 March 2016
Social scientists have assessed the fast expansion, and commercialization, of Chinese education under market reforms sincethe late 1970s, and have delved specifically into the quality of vocational school teaching and classroom learning. There has been, however, scant attention to student interns as temporary or contingent workers in the actual workplace setting. Whereasin a few instances the poor working conditions of teenaged interns were reported, employers had denied their responsibility. The use of interns as flexible and cheap workers is therefore a cause for concern. This research will focus on learning for jobs in China. Relying on an interdisciplinary approach combining sociology, labour studies, education, and law, I ask two main questions: (1) How is the organization of student internship programmes shared among companies, vocational schools, andlocal government departments? (2) In what ways are the occupational skills training of student interns different from those of regular workers? I will employ interviews, supplemented with public policy analysis, to investigate whether the students' studiesare directly related to their assigned job posts during the internship, and sharpen comparisons of the nature and legality of internship programs, which are institutionally organized on a massive scale. While my focus is on China's youth, internships are now a widespread practice around the world. At a time of slowing growth and ageing population, properly trained interns will play a central role in China's development and far beyond. On the specific outcomes, this field research will lead to two conference presentations and an academic article.
More information on the John Fell Fund can be found here.
Jenny Chan and Mark Selden publish a chapter in Handbook on Class and Social Stratification in China (2016)
9 February 2016
Jenny Chan and Mark Selden in Handbook on Class and Social Stratification in China (2016)
The authors’ chapter examines the role of local governments in drawing in businesses and investments, and the specific conditions of Chinese rural migrant workers’ production and reproduction in the contemporary political economy. Jenny Chan and Mark Selden document the ways in which, at times of labour crisis, aggrieved workers have taken legal and extra-legal actions to defend their rights and interests in the absence of leadership or mobilization by trade unions. What then are the prospects for Chinese labour to strengthen its associational power?
In addition to this, Jenny Chan also gave a seminar at the University of Cambridge on the 3rd of February 2016, titled: Dying for an iPhone: Chinese Workers and Student Interns in Apple’s Supply Chain.
Jenny Chan interviewed in French media article: 'Les poèmes de la misère'
12 January 2016
Jenny Chan was interviewed on Le Devoir on Chinese migrants' workers lives. The article was written by Jean-Frédéric Légaré-Tremblay and published on the 30th of December, 2015.
The article, written in French, is available online: 'Les poèmes de la misère'.
Jenny Chan speaks at British Academy-funded symposium on forced labor and is cited by DanWatch
6 November 2015
The shadow economy is believed to be growing globally. On 8-9 October, 2015, Dr Jenny Chan participated in a methods symposium on forced labor entitled “Challenges in Researching the Shadow Economy,” Sheffield Town Hall, Sheffield. Her ethnographic research focuses on the new form of constrained labor of student interns in China. Far from being freely chosen, student internships are organized by the local state working with enterprises and schools, frequently in violation of the rights of student interns and in violation of Chinese law.
Jenny Chan’s research on Chinese student “internships” is cited by DanWatch
Copenhagen-based DanWatch released its investigative report entitled “Servants of Servers” in October 2015:
…Statements about teachers receiving double salary for escorting interns to electronics factories are backed by the research of Jenny Chan, lecturer in China Studies and Sociology at the University of Oxford, professor Ngai Pun from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and professor Mark Selden from New York University, who together have been studying the use of interns at electronic factories in China over the past five years.
“Some teachers are aware about harsh conditions at the factories, however they explain they are not in a position to change the situation because it would break their own employment and extra income”, Jenny Chan explains.
Chan, Jenny, Ngai Pun and Mark Selden. 2015. “Interns or Workers? China’s Student Labor Regime.” Asian Studies (Official Journal of the Asian Studies Association of Hong Kong) 1(1): 69-98.
Kasztelan, Marta. 6 October 2015. The Guardian. “HP and Dell Suspend Use of Interns in Chinese Factories.”
Chen, Michelle. 12 October 2015. The Nation. This article can be found here.
tripleC, Vol. 13, No. 2, 329-602. “Interrogating Internships: Unpaid Work, Creative Industries, and Higher Education.” Edited by Greig de Peuter, Nicole S. Cohen, and Enda Brophy. This article can be found here.
Jenny Chan invited to talk about Chinese labor and virtual work in Estonia
2 October 2015
Conference Program, 16-18 September 2015, Dynamics of Virtual Work, Parnu College,
University of Tartu, Estonia
At the key nodes of production, the integration of large manufacturers in transnational supply chains and tight delivery schedules for consumer products potentially enhance workers’ bargaining power at the workplace level. With workers’ growing awareness of the opportunities presented by the fact that giant corporations face pressures to meet quotas for new models and holiday season purchases, they have repeatedly come together at the dormitory, workshop, or factory level to voice demands or to stage protests. Access to internet and social networking technology also enables workers to disseminate open letters and to tweet urgent appeals for support. In the twenty-first century, China’s centrality in electronics manufacturing and exports opens possibilities that workers can build on their grassroots organizing experience to expand labor rights, while the iron triangle of Foxconn, the company union, and the Chinese state sustains the unequal power structures.
See also, Jenny Chan’s recent journal article on student labor in China.
Jenny CHAN (PhD in Sociology, 2014) is a Lecturer in Contemporary China Studies at the University of Oxford and a Junior Research Fellow (2015-2018) of Kellogg College. Educated at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (B.Soc.Sc) and the University of Hong Kong (MPhil.), she was a Reid Research Scholar while pursuing her doctorate at the University of London. In 2013-2014 she received a Great Britain-China Educational Award. She is a Board Member of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Labor Movements (2014-2018). Her recent articles have appeared in Current Sociology, Modern China, Human Relations, Asian Studies (Official Journal of Hong Kong Asian Studies Association), Critical Asian Studies, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Global Labour Journal, The Asia-Pacific Journal, The South Atlantic Quarterly, New Labor Forum, and New Technology, Work and Employment.
Jenny Chan publishes new book in French
28 September 2015
Comment le système Foxconn – l’usine chinoise qui produit iPhone et PlayStation – expérimente et met en œuvre les pires formes d’exploitation.
Yang - Jenny Chan - Xu Lizhi
"La Machine est ton seigneur et ton maître"
Traduit de l’anglais et préfacé par Celia Izoard
Les machines ressemblent à d’étranges créatures qui aspirent les matières premières, les digèrent et les recrachent sous forme de produit fini. Le processus de production automatisé simplifie les tâches des ouvriers qui n’assurent plus aucune fonction importante dans la production. Ils sont plutôt au service des machines. Nous avons perdu la valeur que nous devrions avoir en tant qu’êtres humains, et nous sommes devenus une prolongation des machines, leur appendice, leur serviteur. J’ai souvent pensé que la machine était mon seigneur et maître et que je devais lui peigner les cheveux, tel un esclave. Il fallait que je passe le peigne ni trop vite ni trop lentement. Je devais peigner soigneusement et méthodiquement, afin de ne casser aucun cheveu, et le peigne ne devait pas tomber. Si je ne faisais pas bien, j’étais élagué.
Foxconn est le plus grand fabricant du monde dans le domaine de l’électronique. Ses villes-usines, qui font travailler plus d’un million de Chinois, produisent iPhone, Kindle et autres PlayStation pour Apple, Sony, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. En 2010, elles ont été le théâtre d’une série de suicides d’ouvriers qui ont rendu publiques des conditions d’exploitation fondées sur une organisation militarisée de la production, une taylorisation extrême, l’absence totale de protection sociale et une surveillance despotique jusque dans les dortoirs où vivent les ouvriers.
Ce livre propose quelques éléments d’analyse du système Foxconn à partir du portrait que fait la sociologue Jenny Chan d’une ouvrière qui a survécu à sa tentative de suicide en 2010. Complété par le témoignage de Yang, un étudiant et ouvrier de fabrication à Chongqing, il retrace également le parcours de Xu Lizhi, jeune travailleur migrant chinois à Shenzen, qui s’est suicidé en 2014 après avoir laissé des poèmes sur le travail à la chaîne, dans "L’atelier, là où ma jeunesse est restée en plan".
ISBN : 9782748902389