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" 2008: ‘Make Contributions and Offer Your Youth for Tomorrow’s Dream’: The Establishment of the Shenzhen Migrant Worker Museum
Florence, Eric; Junxi, Qian
2022In Franceschini, Ivan; Sorace, Christian (Eds.) Proletarian China: A Century of Chinese Labour
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Keywords :
Labor; China; Party-state; ideology; hegemony; workers; representation; museum; Shenzhen
Abstract :
[en] In this chapter, we document how the Shenzhen Migrant Workers Museum (SMWM) makes visible or invisible specific facets of political economy, power configurations and of migrant workers’ subject formation. Museums, through organizing specific arrangements of things, images and people, embody a specific capacity to “show and tell”, to incorporate people in state-making processes, and strengthen social orders (Bennett: 87) or on the contrary, as Beth Lord has argued, they can make visible the contingence and reversibility of social orders (Lord: 363). The Shenzhen Migrant Labour Museum rather belongs to the former kind of project. Our study shows that the representation of rural migrant workers has been closely articulated to the shaping of Shenzhen myth-making and to fostering a neoliberal ethos of the self-enterprising subject. Rural migrant workers as they are portrayed in the museum’s permanent exhibition exemplify values such as optimism in the face of adversity, diligence, risk-taking, autonomy and self-improvement combined with Mao-era values of making contributions and self-sacrifice. These values have been promoted with much intensity in the process of building an identity for the Zone from the late 1980s on, and even more so from the middle of the next decade on.
Research center :
IRSS-CEDEM - Institut de recherches en Sciences Sociales. Centre d'Études de l'Ethnicité et des Migrations - ULiège
Disciplines :
Sociology & social sciences
Author, co-author :
Florence, Eric  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Institut de recherche en Sciences Sociales (IRSS)
Junxi, Qian;  The University of Hong Kong > Social Sciences
Language :
Title :
" 2008: ‘Make Contributions and Offer Your Youth for Tomorrow’s Dream’: The Establishment of the Shenzhen Migrant Worker Museum
Publication date :
07 June 2022
Main work title :
Proletarian China: A Century of Chinese Labour
Author, co-author :
Franceschini, Ivan;  Australian National University
Sorace, Christian;  Colorado College
Publisher :
Verso Books, Brooklyn, United States
Pages :
Peer reviewed :
Editorial reviewed
Available on ORBi :
since 03 June 2022


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