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Fear as political dynamics: Chinese peasant workers’ struggle over social security
Source PublicationInter-Asia Cultural Studies

This article attempts to understand the subject formation of Chinese peasant workers by exploring the emotional dynamics of their struggle for social security, in particular, the new political possibilities created by emotional forces, and the complex ways they experience and articulate the distinctive kind of emotional politics that binds peasant workers with the state in their co-production of emotionally charged power relations, identities, and subjectivities. It formulates an analytical framework that explores the emotional politics of fear that plays out in the context of economic restructuring. In contemporary China, the conflict triggered by social insurance contributions has become a component of the ensuing social crisis, where many protest events are triggered by widespread outrage at the violation of legal rights to social insurance and other welfare security. This research focuses on the struggle of a group of peasant workers at a UNIQLO supplier in Shenzhen, exploring how their fears for the future are constituted, and how their emotional feelings of insecurity motivate collective action and reconfigure their emotional identity and subjectivity in the face of extreme risk. Informed by a relational understanding of emotions, this paper investigates the complex ways in which the proliferation of fear, as a result of an anticipated pain in the future, articulates the process of subject-making in the face of increasing instability and precarity. The study attempts to demonstrate the centrality of fear for China’s sociopolitical order and the radical action of labor resistance.

KeywordBody China Fear Peasant Worker Politics Of Emotion Social Security Subjectivity
URLView the original
Indexed BySSCI ; A& ; HCI
WOS Research AreaAnthropology ; Cultural Studies ; Asian Studies
WOS SubjectAnthropology ; Cultural Studies ; Asian Studies
WOS IDWOS:000462246700003
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Cited Times [WOS]:5   [WOS Record]     [Related Records in WOS]
Document TypeJournal article
CollectionUniversity of Macau
Corresponding AuthorShi,Wei
AffiliationDepartment of CommunicationFaculty of Social SciencesUniversity of Macau,Taipa,Macao
First Author AffilicationFaculty of Social Sciences
Corresponding Author AffilicationFaculty of Social Sciences
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GB/T 7714
Shi,Wei. Fear as political dynamics: Chinese peasant workers’ struggle over social security[J]. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies,2019,20(1):19-38.
APA Shi,Wei.(2019).Fear as political dynamics: Chinese peasant workers’ struggle over social security.Inter-Asia Cultural Studies,20(1),19-38.
MLA Shi,Wei."Fear as political dynamics: Chinese peasant workers’ struggle over social security".Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 20.1(2019):19-38.
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