Policy Press

Intimacy as a Lens on Work and Migration

Experiences of Ethnic Performers in Southwest China

By Jingyu Mao

Published

Jun 25, 2024

Page count

192 pages

Browse the series

Global Migration and Social Change

ISBN

978-1529225853

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jun 25, 2024

Page count

192 pages

Browse the series

Global Migration and Social Change

ISBN

978-1529225860

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Intimacy as a Lens on Work and Migration

This book explores the experiences of ethnic performers in a small Chinese city, aiming to better understand their work and migration journeys. Their unique position as service workers who have migrated within the same province provides valuable insights into the intersection of social inequalities related to the rural-urban divide, ethnicity and gender in contemporary China. Introducing the concept of ‘intimacy as a lens’, the author examines intimate negotiations involving emotions, sense of self and relationships as a way of understanding wider social inequalities.

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, the book reveals the bordering mechanisms encountered by performers in their work as they navigate between rural and urban environments, as well as between ethnic minority and Han identities. Emphasising the intimate and personal nature of these encounters, the book argues that they can help inform understanding of broader social issues.

Jingyu Mao is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh.

1.Introduction

2.Ethnic Performance Work

3.Intimate Negotiation Along the Rural-Urban Borders

4.Encountering Ethnicity

5.Gendering the Border Struggles

6.Conclusion