The China Watch (Book Review of 'New Masters, New Servants: Migration, Development, and Women Workers in China,' By Yan Hairong)

TitleThe China Watch (Book Review of 'New Masters, New Servants: Migration, Development, and Women Workers in China,' By Yan Hairong)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsQuan, K.
JournalNew Labor Forum
Volume19
Issue3
Pagination93-95
KeywordsChina, domestic workers, gender, labor policy, labor relations
Abstract

[Excerpt] Yan Hairong's New Masters, New Servants is an important contribution to academic literature on labor in China. As its provocative title suggests, the book describes a new kind of labor relations—between domestic workers and their household employers—in contemporary China. Though domestic work was practically eliminated after the 1949 revolution as a bitter symbol of feudal exploitation, it re-emerged after 1978 as the country turned toward a market economy, primarily as a support for professional women who work outside the home. Professor Yan brings together history, politics, economics, gender, and China studies—as well as cultural/anthropology studies—into a fascinating book, using domestic workers as a "trope" for critiquing "postsocialist" labor policies in today's China.