© 2009

Laid-Off Workers in a Workers’ State

Unemployment with Chinese Characteristics

  • Editors
  • Thomas B. Gold
  • William J. Hurst
  • Jaeyoun Won
  • Li Qiang

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction

    1. William J. Hurst, Thomas B. Gold, Jaeyoun Won
      Pages 1-12
  3. Class Politics

  4. Frames and Framing

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 93-93
    2. Eva P. W. Hung, Stephen W. K. Chiu
      Pages 95-114
  5. Workers’ Welfare and Reemployment

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 133-133
    2. Li Peilin, Zhang Yi
      Pages 159-181
  6. Explaining the Lack of Contention

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 245-261

About this book


In this book, an international team of scholars explores not only the politics of xiagang, but also the effect on Chinese workers and their families, and the variety of their responses to this unprecedented dislocation in their lives.


employment Familie government Nation politics Protest unemployment

About the authors

THOMAS B. GOLD was founding Director of the Berkeley China Initiative and is a member of the Sociology Department at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.
WILLIAM J. HURST is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas, Austin, USA.
JAEYOUN WON is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.
LI QIANG is Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science, and Professor of Sociology at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

Bibliographic information


"The chapters in this book collectively address a critical juncture in the history of Chinese labor: the mass unemployment that followed the restructuring of state enterprises in the 1990s. Readers will find rich descriptions of the identities and worldviews of those who were once the socialist "masters" of the Chinese factory, as well as careful explanations of the political demands and policy responses that came with their sudden loss of material and social status." - Mark W. Frazier, ConocoPhillips Professor of Chinese Politics, University of Oklahoma

"Fourteen China experts examine the fate of the thirty million state workers who have been laid off, in the most comprehensive study to date. The relationships between the state and laid-off workers and within the working class turn out to be much more complex and interesting than imagined by conventional wisdom." - Anita Chan, Australian National University; Author of China s Workers Under Assault: The Exploitation of Labor in a Globalizing Economy

"The first edited volume in English on this subject, Laid-Off Workers fills several gaps in the existing xiagang research. . . . This book represents an insightful, current, comprehensive, and well-documented study of the laid-off workers in the aftermath of unprecedented enterprise restructuring and privatization in China's economic reforms. It is a valuable addition to the existing literature on social conditions among Chinese working people." - The Journal of Asian Studies