The role of intellectuals in contemporary China's labor movement: A preliminary exploration
AbstractChina's workers are at a crossroads, and intellectuals are playing a role in where they may go. Workers, especially migrant workers, have been one of the pillars of the high rate economic growth in the past 30 years, yet they have also been one of the most exploited and suppressed groups. The situation naturally arouses protests. This paper starts with the forms of workers' protest and the response of the state. Then it focuses on the role of intellectuals. Organic intellectuals do research on labor relations but mainly from the government's perspective of economic growth and social stability. Operating in state-sponsored institutions, they are not allowed to be overly critical of the powers that be, whether they are political or economic powers. They follow the ethic of responsibility and are more likely to influence policy. Critical intellectuals seek to expose unfair labor practices. They call on the state to examine its policies of official unions which serve mainly the government's and businesses' interests. One of their concerns is the establishment of independent unions. Critical intellectuals serve as the conscience of society and follow the ethic of ultimate ends. But they are less likely to influence policy. Both organic and critical intellectuals are, however, professional in that they base their work on social science research. Facing a number of dilemmas, intellectuals find that there are both limits and possibilities of the roles they play. The author hopes that this preliminary exploration of the role of intellectuals will invite more studies on this issue for the benefits of healthy labor relations in China in the future.
KeywordChina Labor relations Labor unrest Role of intellectuals Social movement
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Document TypeBook
CollectionUniversity of Macau
Corresponding AuthorHao,Zhidong
AffiliationDepartment of SociologyUniversity of Macau,Taipa,Macao
First Author AffilicationUniversity of Macau
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Hao,Zhidong. The role of intellectuals in contemporary China's labor movement: A preliminary exploration[M],2017.
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