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Flexible work, flexible household: Labor migration and rural families in China

Work and Organizationsin China Afterthirty Years of Transition

ISBN: 978-1-84855-730-7, eISBN: 978-1-84855-731-4

ISSN: 0277-2833

Publication date: 2 September 2009

Abstract

Migrants change jobs frequently, switch from one type of work to another and one location to another readily, and often return to the home village for months or even years before pursuing migrant work again. Not only are migrants ready to split the household between the city and the countryside, but also they frequently change from one form of division of labor to another. The inside–outside model, where the wife stays in the village and the husband does migrant work, used to be the dominant arrangement. Over time, the outside–outside model, where both the husband and wife migrate to work and leave behind other family members, is increasingly popular. This is facilitated by intergenerational and interhousehold division of labor in the form of assistance by the extended family. Intergenerational division of labor takes place when the second generation is replacing the parents in migrant work. This research's findings support the notion that rural–urban migrants are fast becoming a hybrid segment of Chinese society, playing dual roles of farmers and urban workers and straddling the peasant and urban worlds.

Citation

Cindy Fan, C. (2009), "Flexible work, flexible household: Labor migration and rural families in China", Keister, L. (Ed.) Work and Organizationsin China Afterthirty Years of Transition (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 377-408. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0277-2833(2009)0000019016

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited