Negotiating Intimacy: Obedience, Compromise and Resistance

  • Yang Shen
Part of the New Perspectives on Chinese Politics and Society book series (NPCPS)


Migration not only brings about changes to the migrants’ working lives, but also has a profound influence on their intimate relations with their partners and natal families. This chapter addresses the process of partner choosing and workers’ relationships with their natal families and partners. The primary reason to examine intimate relations is that family members, including partners, are considered the most treasured aspects of life by my informants, according to the survey I conducted in 2012. Migrant workers are enmeshed in a web of different social roles. According to my findings, the workers tended to consider themselves in relation to other members in their families rather than as individuals; these findings are similar to those of Lin (2013) in his study of male migrant workers in Guangdong province. The idea that they are working for the wellbeing of the family encourage them to accept the tedium of daily work in Shanghai. For many of them, work is a means to an end, and the end is the family. It is therefore crucial to examine the migrants’ interactions with partners and parents.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yang Shen
    • 1
  1. 1.Shanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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