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Made in China: Women Factory Workers in a Global Workplace Revised Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1932643008
ISBN-10: 1932643001
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Made in China is a passionate, engaged ethnography. Pun Ngai provides us with a searing critique of how global capital, with the collusion of the Chinese state, is turning China into the sweatshop of the world. Her ethnography is a moving and angry description of the lives of young migrant women, who are the guts of this process. Through Pun’s ethnographic eye, these women come alive as active subjects who confront the pain and trauma of the social violence inflicted on them in a complex poetics of transgression.”—Lisa Rofel, author of Other Modernities: Gendered Yearnings in China after Socialism


“Right now, anything that happens in China’s economy affects all of us. Pun Ngai’s book should be required reading. It is jam-packed with richly drawn and provocative insights mined from her fieldwork as a ‘factory girl’ in the midst of South China’s migrant workers.”— Andrew Ross, author of Low Pay, High Profile: The Global Push for Fair Labor


Made in China is an important inter-disciplinary contribution to the body of literature on women workers. Development practitioners will find the rich empirical data, which corroborate some field reports, useful to shape policy. The book raises serious issues about the development path that China has embarked upon, and although Pun Ngai frequently emphasises geographic specificity, it will resonate with development studies scholars focusing on other regions of the world.”
(Anibel Ferus-Comelo, Gender and Development)

"[A] remarkable book. . . . [A] vivid and persuasive first-hand account of life in China's factories in the late 20th century. . . . [A]nyone who cares about East Asia today, and tomorrow, should read [this book]."
(Bradley Winterton, Taipei Times)

About the Author

Pun Ngai is Assistant Professor in the Division of Social Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She is coeditor of Remaking Citizenship in Hong Kong: Community, Nation, and the Global City and the founder and chair of the Chinese Working Women Network, a grassroots organization of migrant women factory workers in China.

For more information regarding the Chinese Working Women Network, please click here.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books; Revised edition (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932643001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932643008
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Anyone working on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), with NGOs, or otherwise on development issues in China and most developing countries should read this book. I only wish Pung Nai had a shorter version where she cut out all the intellectual references to supposed `great thinkers' of the past century and actually kept it to its GEMS, which are her own insights into the true life realities for women factory workers.

This book came from Pung Nais PhD as she tells us. This is unfortunate as it makes what is otherwise fantastic material hard to read and slow. But the well written sections tell us stories of individual workers odysseys to Shenzhen from far away provinces, and explain social issues in China, and factory language providing insights few other writers have provided.

To those working on improving factory conditions, there are a lot of great tips here about what Not to do. Pung Nai talks about worker slowdowns due to frustration at dogmatic authoritarian pressure to work faster, or have music turned off, etc, and of workers being less efficient and regularly fainting from working excessive overtime. Reading this book gives those of us working to encourage factory managers to give their workers more reasonable hours and wages, more force in our argument that doing so will improve productivity and quality.

Regardless, Pung Nai points out the terrible toll on peoples lives of excessive overtime, particularly the physical and psychological impacts on young women, who are not only burdened by the work pressure, but also familial pressures back home to marry and have sons. It helps us understand the value of programmes such as Nikes high school graduation programme for factory workers in Asia, to give workers a chance to gain self respect and pride in an environment in which the very essence of who they are, country girls, is looked down upon.
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This was a good memoir to read. I found it slow at times and choppy because the author moves back and forth from past to present constantly and then the book suddenly ends. There is no sharing of her actual transition from her Amish life into her "English" life, nor any details of how she actually met her husband. The end was far too sudden. Further, the information contained in the very back of the book about Amish factsregarding naming and so forth I found interesting and I was disappointed that they were pushed to the last few pages of the book when I felt they would have been best incorporated into the memoir throughout the book in order to help the reader get a better understanding of Amish tradition. Overall, a good read though and honestly writen from the heart. I would recommend this book.
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