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Chinese Immigrant Women Workers: Everyday Forms of Resistance and “Coagulate Politics”

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Abstract:

Based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork in the San Francisco Bay Area, this study presents a group of Chinese working-class immigrant women's daily struggles for material survival and their creativity in negotiating exploitative employment conditions. Several intersecting social constraints operate to prevent them from developing assertive attitudes, defiant behaviors, and collective actions. In reaction to these constraints, the women develop unique strategies to covertly resist and pragmatically adapt. Finally, I use political scientist James Scott's concept of “everyday forms of resistance” and Michael Hanchard's notion of “coagulate politics” to complicate the conceptualization of resistance.

Keywords: Chinese Immigrant Women; Ethnic Employment; Negotiation and Resistance; Social Constraints; Subcontracting System; Working-Class

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14791420802412415

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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