In the Minds of Migrant Workers

A sociological study into the hopes and fears of one of China’s most vulnerable groups

Guo Yu is a sociology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland, College Park in the US. During a recent research project in China which focused on attitudes of migrant workers, Guo sought to explore a more nuanced look at their thoughts through an ethnographic approach and found that stereotypes failed to represent their complex attitudes.

Can you briefly summarize your research goals? What were some key issues you explored in your interviews?

My goal was to investigate how rural migrant workers subjectively perceived their current situations. Based on theories and scholarly research, rural migrant workers are seen as exploited by capital and dominated by the state. I wanted to know how the migrant workers themselves looked at their own work and lives.

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David Dawson is the former deputy editor of The World of Chinese.

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