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See detail"Pistes pour une étude des relations de pouvoir en République populaire de Chine: variations autour des processus de légitimation et identification en rapport avec les travailleurs ruraux dans le Delta de la Rivière des perles"
Florence, Eric ULg

Scientific conference (2012, February 23)

Une diversité d'approches théoriques s'offre au chercheur en matière d'étude des relations de pouvoir. L’auteur propose pour cette séance de réfléchir sur la pertinence de certains outillages théoriques ... [more ▼]

Une diversité d'approches théoriques s'offre au chercheur en matière d'étude des relations de pouvoir. L’auteur propose pour cette séance de réfléchir sur la pertinence de certains outillages théoriques et en particulier de confronter des cadres "binaires" (James C. Scott notamment) aux approches en terme d'hégémonie inspirées d'Antonio Gramsci, ainsi qu'aux conceptualisations en terme de gouvernementalité (Michel Foucault). Nous espérons ainsi souligner la difficulté à prendre en compte les contradictions dans l'étude du pouvoir dans la société contemporaine. [less ▲]

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See detailSinging the ‘dagong’ via the web: suffering, longings and ideals. An exploration of the everyday politics of migrant labour in South China
Florence, Eric ULg

Conference (2011, December 10)

Since the 1980s, new forms of labour, new subjectivities and attitudes related to the market and to flexible capitalism have been more and more prized in the PRC coexisting with older strands of ... [more ▼]

Since the 1980s, new forms of labour, new subjectivities and attitudes related to the market and to flexible capitalism have been more and more prized in the PRC coexisting with older strands of narratives and cultural productions linked to Mao-era state-socialism. The process of cultural re-invention and of contention around “migrant labour” provides a particularly interesting vintage point in order to delve into the twin dynamics of rural workers’ unstable identification processes (at the individual and collective levels) and at the state project of legitimation. Within this paper, I intend to explore how the new media cultures inform and relate to the cultural politics of migrant labour in today’s China, including the shaping of new subjectivities, by examining rural workers’ use of the internet to narrate both their hometown and their experience of labour. I will look specifically at the everyday politics of rural workers’ practices of “song writing” via the internet and will delve upon the following questions: how does this practice of song writing/listening inform the politics of identity formation among rural labourers? how can one relate rural migrant workers’ song writing to the increasingly “on the ground” organized waves of labour protests in South China? I will argue that the virtual space which this practice provides a useful vintage point in order to examine how state and non-state actors can engage each other and how the Party-state is constantly re-inventing novel ways to shape its system of ideological signs. The datas used for this paper will include songs and poems by rural workers, an extensive analysis by the author of the Shenzhen mainstream written press, participant observation, in-depth interviews, and a large body of unpublished letters to the editor of several migrants’ magazines. [less ▲]

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See detailCatégorisations autour de la figure du « travailleur rural » dans le Delta de la Rivière des Perles. Luttes hégémoniques, légitimation et identifications.
Florence, Eric ULg

Conference (2011, December 02)

Les pratiques de catégorisation juridico-bureaucratique, mais aussi rhétorique occupent une place centrale au niveau des processus de constitution et de réinvention continuelle des Etats-nations comme les ... [more ▼]

Les pratiques de catégorisation juridico-bureaucratique, mais aussi rhétorique occupent une place centrale au niveau des processus de constitution et de réinvention continuelle des Etats-nations comme les travaux de nombreux historiens l’ont montré. Aujourd’hui encore, la production et la circulation de catégories de l’altérité comme « immigré », « réfugié », « sans papier », « clandestin », « jeune des banlieues », etc. peuvent être pensées en rapport avec la constitution du « citoyen national » ainsi qu’avec valeurs et principes qui lui sont associés. Ces pratiques de catégorisation de la population participent de processus d’institution de relations de pouvoir. Ils touchent aux questions de construction sans cesse renouvelée de la légitimité des Etats, mais aussi au processus d’identification des groupes concernés. Cette problématique et cette dialectique « légitimation-identification » est particulièrement intéressante à étudier dans le cas des travailleurs d’origine rurale en République populaire de Chine. On s’intéressera à ces pratiques et luttes autour des catégories de discours car celles-ci participent, de configurations complexes d’institutions, de pratiques de contrôle social et de gouvernement. Ces catégorisations sont tour à tour le produit de ces configurations tout comme elles les constituent. Dans notre exposé, à travers une confrontation entre différents matériaux (presse, littérature migrante, chansons, entretiens, etc.), nous nous pencherons sur les relations de pouvoir et les luttes que recèle la catégorie de dagong (打工). Nous montrerons qu’elle cristallise tout un réseau de principes et de valeurs centraux dans la société chinoise post-maoïste et que la figure du « travailleur rural » (dagongzhe) concentre sur elle un champ normatif très dense. Nous nous poserons également la question de savoir quels outils conceptuels utiliser afin d’appréhender ces processus. [less ▲]

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See detailArguments for Engaging Contemporary China
Florence, Eric ULg

E-print/Working paper (2011)

Whether it be the 2008 Olympic games or Shanghai‘s 2010 Universal Expo, for several years now China, a country of more than 1.4 billion habitants, is mentioned almost every day in the news. Not a week ... [more ▼]

Whether it be the 2008 Olympic games or Shanghai‘s 2010 Universal Expo, for several years now China, a country of more than 1.4 billion habitants, is mentioned almost every day in the news. Not a week goes by without hearing about its growth records, its clout in international trade and in raw material consumption, or about the emergence of a middle class, with a consumption level nearing that of the Western world. Far from giving the pretention of proposing a concrete representation of today’s China, what is suggested in this paper are several elements that may shed light on important socio-political processes in contemporary China beyond newsbytes. [less ▲]

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See detailUrban Poverty in China
Florence, Eric ULg

in Local Economy (2011), 26(5), 450-453

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See detailLes Ruses de la démocratie en Chine. Protester en Chine
Florence, Eric ULg

in Etudes Chinoises (2011), XXX

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See detailThe Challenge of Labour in China: Strikes and the Changing Labour Regime in Global Factories
Florence, Eric ULg

in Local Economy (2011), 26(5), 450-453

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See detailStruggling around ‘dagong’: dialectics of contention and accommodation
Florence, Eric ULg

Conference (2010, November 26)

Since the launching of market-oriented reforms in post-Mao China, the Chinese party-state has re-deployed some of its categorization, allocation, and spatialization prerogatives. The rapid societal ... [more ▼]

Since the launching of market-oriented reforms in post-Mao China, the Chinese party-state has re-deployed some of its categorization, allocation, and spatialization prerogatives. The rapid societal changes at work in post-Mao China have implied a complex process of transformation of the Party-state’s sponsored economy of signs and values. The various ways in which rural migrant workers have been represented are in this respect particularly worth studying, this at least for two interrelated reasons. Firstly, migrant workers have been playing a central economic role within the Pearl River Delta’s but also within the whole country’s economic growth since they provide the vast majority of manpower in the labour-intensive industries. Since the capacity to generate high levels of economic growth and to improve people’s living standards are crucial in the Party’s legitimisation building, migrants also play an important political role. But at the same time, the vary harsh labour regimes implemented in the Pearl River Delta and the violence ─ both physical and symbolic ─ that the meeting of global capitalism and post-Mao China state socialism generate upon migrant workers also constitutes a challenge for a ruling party whose founding narratives are still grounded precisely upon the rejection of capitalist exploitation. In this paper I want to show that by delving into migrant workers’ narratives of their experience of ‘dagong’ and more specifically within their migration rationale one can get a glimpse of the at once empowering and also highly constrained dimension of migrant agency. Within specific patterns of accumulation, that is a context of combined “dull compulsion of economic relations” and of “routine repression”, I will document the process by which “people’s experiences and “practical engagements with the daily world” are linked to “historically produced institutional and structural settings” (Smith, 1996). As migration is intimately linked to unstable identification processes (at the individual and collective levels) and to the state project of legitimation, migrant narratives provide a particularly interesting vintage point to examine these processes of hegemonic contention and struggle. In the last section of the paper I will argue for the need to take into account contradictions seriously when studying migration experiences through ethnographic work. The data used for this paper are part of an extensive analysis by the author of the Shenzhen mainstream written press, participant observation, in-depth interviews with about 10-15 rural migrants, short informal interviews in the streets with about 70-100 people from 2001 to 2008, and a body of unpublished letters to the editor of several migrants’ magazines. [less ▲]

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See detailLa question sociale en Chine aujourd’hui : esquisse de bilan
Florence, Eric ULg

Conference given outside the academic context (2010)

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See detailCinq arguments pour approcher la puissance économique chinoise
Florence, Eric ULg

in LiègeU (2010)

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See detailNarrer le ‘dagong’: identification, hégémonie et légitimations de transition
Florence, Eric ULg

Scientific conference (2010, April 27)

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See detailXiang Biao, Transcending Boundaries. Zhejiangcun : The Story of a Migrant Village in Beijing
Florence, Eric ULg

in Perspectives Chinoises (2010), Février 2010

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See detailQuand langue et culture chinoises se conjuguent
Florence, Eric ULg

Learning material (2010)

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See detail‘Dagongzhe’ Write to the magazines: suffering, borders stretching and longings. Dialectics of identification and legitimation
Florence, Eric ULg

Conference (2009, June 23)

‘Dagongzhe’ Write to the magazines: suffering, borders stretching and longings. Dialectics of identification and legitimation. Eric Florence, PhD in Political and Social Sciences, Researcher at the Centre ... [more ▼]

‘Dagongzhe’ Write to the magazines: suffering, borders stretching and longings. Dialectics of identification and legitimation. Eric Florence, PhD in Political and Social Sciences, Researcher at the Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies, the University of Liege. In this paper, I will look at the different kinds of values that are fostered within articles (diaries, letters, etc.) published in magazines for rural migrant workers. After having detailed the criterion used by editors of these magazines in the process of selecting or rejecting writings sent to them by migrant authors, I will detail three types of narrative modes found in magazines aimed at migrant workers. The first one signals suffering, disillusionment and sometimes irony. The second narrative mode entails claim making by migrant workers which are often backed by editors. I argue that this belongs to what O’Brien calls “contentious politics”. Eventually, the third mode examined in this paper will be thought of as strategic narrative framing on the part of migrant authors. In such framing the pedagogic role of guidance by editors is central I shall stress. But I shall argue at the same time that despite such framing, much of these writings are permeated by a powerful politics of desire and that such politics is particularly hard to analyse. In addition to a qualitative analysis of both published and unpublished writings by migrant workers and editors, I will also confront such writings and the values they convey to the fruit of my ethnographic fieldwork carried out in the Pearl River Delta between 2001 and 200 [less ▲]

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