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[Excerpt] This book makes three main contributions to our understanding of informal work in China. First, it documents diversity in employment relations and the labor market. This diversity exists in spite of the fact that all of these workers are similar: they are all men who are unregistered migrants working informally in the construction industry in major cities in China. This book helps us make sense of that diversity and the diversity of informal precarious work more generally. Second, it expands our understanding of China’s emerging labor regime, which is central to labor control, intimately related to the urbanization process, and ultimately linked to China’s overall economic success. Finally, it shows how these migrants struggle against the disciplining process, contest exploitation, and protest in unique ways. Just as with other workers toiling under capitalism, important structural forces shape their work and lives but are not deterministic. Thus, this large, emerging segment of workers should not be overlooked when analyzing the complexities of class and class politics in China.


The abstract, table of contents, and first twenty-five pages are published with permission from the Cornell University Press. For ordering information, please visit the Cornell University Press.