Students and Scholars
Corporate Misbehaviour

Year Month

Worker-Intellectual Unity: Trans-Border Sociological Intervention in Foxconn

[Published on 7 January 2014]
TITLE: Worker-Intellectual Unity: Trans-Border Sociological Intervention in Foxconn
Pun, Ngai, Shen Yuan, Guo Yuhua, Lu Huilin, Jenny Chan and Mark Selden. 2014. “Worker-Intellectual Unity: Trans-Border Sociological Intervention in Foxconn.” Current Sociology. First published on January 7, 2014 as doi:10.1177/0011392113514892.
What are the implications for global public sociology and labor studies when more than a score of Foxconn workers jump to their death and when a wave of protests, riots and strikes occur in their wake? This article documents the formation of a crossborder sociological intervention project and [...]

Two journal articles on Apple’s Foxconn factories in China

New Technology, Work and Employment (July 2013), and The Asia-Pacific Journal (August 2013), features two articles on Foxconn in China – “A Suicide Survivor: The Life of a Chinese Worker.” by Jenny Chan and “The Politics of Global Production: Apple, Foxconn and China’s New Working Class.” by Jenny Chan, Pun Ngai and Mark Selden.

As described in the editorial to the July issue by Debra Howcroft and Phil Taylor:

“These papers in different ways are concerned with the production of electronic consumables by Foxconn, the Taiwanese-owned multinational supplier, which is China’s leading exporter. … The first of the articles provides the remarkable testimony of Tian Yu, a young female migrant worker, who attempted suicide by [...]

Labor Notes: Who Speaks for China’s Workers?

Leslie T. Chang, author of Factory Girls, received a standing ovation when she closed her TED Talk about the lives, aspirations, and—above all—upward mobility of China’s workers who make our products.

Feeling Good about Yourself

It’s a feel-good, “happy worker” story, filled with young women who start at the bottom in factory jobs, then rise by taking courses to become sales executives, secretaries, English instructors, and entrepreneurs, starting successful businesses of all kinds. The Chinese dream fulfilled!

Labor Politics under Three Stages of Chinese Capitalism

By Ho-Fung Hung


This essay outlines the three stages of Chinese capitalist development in the 1980s through the 2000s and discusses how labor politics played out differently in each of the three stages and helped shape the next stage. Whence the erosion of living standards of urban workers amid out-of-control inflation and corruption in the late 1980s led to workers’ participation in the 1989 democratic movement, the full-fledged neoliberal reforms implemented by the post-1989 authoritarian state in the 1990s urged many laid-off workers in state enterprises to take to the streets. In the wake of these struggles by the declining rank of socialist state workers was the surge of militant resistance by the new working class [...]

Reflections on Labor in China: From a Moment to a Movement

By Tim Pringle


This essay contrasts the scattered resistance of Chinese urban workers to the restructuring of state-owned enterprises at the turn of the century with the long march of migrant workers from victims to subjects. I argue that the “functional authoritarian” nature of the Chinese state and its policy of embracing globalization created the conditions for the defeat of China’s traditional urban working class. Coinciding with this moment has been the gradual emergence of a new movement of labor headed by migrant workers who have taken advantage of structural flaws in China’s development trajectory to pursue collective interests. This movement in the making has demonstrated a capacity to overcome spatial [...]