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Chinese Labor in a Korean Factory: Class, Ethnicity, and Productivity on the Shop Floor in Globalizing China

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Chinese Labor in a Korean Factorydraws on fieldwork in a multinational corporation (MNC) in Qingdao, China, and delves deep into the power dynamics at play between Korean management, Chinese migrant workers, local-level Chinese government officials, and Chinese local gangs. Anthropologist Jaesok Kim examines how governments, to attract MNCs, relinquish parts of their legal rights over these entities, while MNCs also give up portions of their rights as proxies of global capitalism by complying with local government guidelines to ensure infrastructure and cheap labor. This ethnography demonstrates how a particular MNC struggled with the pressure to be increasingly profitable while negotiating the clash of Korean and Chinese cultures, traditions, and classes on the factory floor of a garment corporation.

Chinese Labor in a Korean Factory pays particular attention to common features of post-socialist countries. By analyzing the contentious collaboration between foreign management, factory workers, government officials, and gangs, this study contributes not only to the research on the politics of resistance but also to how global and local forces interact in concrete and surprising ways.

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