New Masters, New Servants: Migration, Development, and Women Workers in China
On March 9, 1996, tens of thousands of readers of a daily newspaper in China's Anhui province saw a photograph of two young women at a local long-distance bus station. Dressed in fashionable new winter coats and carrying luggage printed with Roman letters, the women were returning home from their jobs in one of China's large cities. As the photo caption indicated, the image represented the "transformation of migrant women." The women's "transformation" was signaled by their status as consumers. New Masters, New Servants is an ethnography of class dynamics and the subject formation of migrant domestic workers. Based on her interviews with young women who migrated from China's Anhui province to the city of Beijing to undertake domestic service for middle-class families--and with employers, job placement agencies, and government officials—1998 IDRF Fellow Yan Hairong explores what these migrant domestic workers mean to the families that hire them, to urban economies, to rural provinces such as Anhui, and to the Chinese state. Above all, Yan focuses on the domestic worker's self-conceptions, desires, and struggles. Buy it on Amazon.
Published: Duke University Press, 2008
Citation: New Masters, New Servants: Migration, Development, and Women Workers in China, Yan, Hairong (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008).