Current Institutional Affiliation
Director of International Alumni Relations, Office of Alumni Affairs, Cornell University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2000
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Cornell University
Stepping Down': The Reconstruction of Working Class Identities in Urban China

I will examine how the lives of laid-off industrial workers are affected by national development policies, regional deindustrialization, decreasing state welfare, changing family support structure and cultural norms in a major Chinese city. I will conduct fieldwork in two retraining centers and one manufacturing neighborhood in Shenyang. My ethnographic focus will be on the quotidian context of "self" and identity reconstruction of the displaced workers and the historically rooted ways in which they draw upon institutional and cultural elements in their interactions with the state. By highlighting the transformative and productive quality of the social practices of differently positioned social actors, I aspire to push practice theory's explanatory warrant beyond its characteristic emphasis on social reproduction, hence elucidating and improving its potential to understand moments of profound social change.