The Labour Law System, Capitalist Hegemony and Class Politics in China

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This article investigates how the Chinese labour law system has helped to reproduce capitalist hegemony, i.e. the ethico-political, moral and cultural leadership of the ruling class. Based on intensive fieldwork in the Pearl River Delta and 115 interviews with migrant workers, this article shows that the labour law system has exercised a double hegemonic effect with regards to capital-labour relations and state-labour relations. Through normalizing, countervailing, concealing and transmuting mechanisms, the labour law system has been able to buffer both the market economy and the party-state from workers' radical and fundamental criticism. However, the double hegemony mediated through the labour law system has influenced the Chinese migrant workers in an uneven manner: some of them have granted active consent to the ruling class leadership; some have only rendered passive consent; and some have refused to give any consent at all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-455
Number of pages25
JournalChina Quarterly
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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