Dissertation Abstracts

Familial Politics of Production: Household Production in China

Author: Hu, Lina , linahu@berkeley.edu
Department: Sociology
University: UC Berkeley, USA
Supervisor: Michael Burawoy
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Household Production , Patriarchy , Paternalism , Patrimonialism
Areas of Research: Work , Theory , Social Transformations and Sociology of Development


This dissertation elaborates a new type of factory regime---Familial Household Production---in China based on a study of Baigou bag industry. Not only household production is different from the other types of well-known production systems of SOEs (State Owned Enterprises), TVEs (Township and Village Enterprises) and FEs (Foreign Enterprises) due to its rural familial characteristics, but also what further distinguishes them is that household production always exists in a context of flexible industrial district which simultaneously promotes and reproduces familial household production. There are three sub-types of the familial household production regime: 1) patriarchal factory regime is a form of “government by the family” in which the small household factory owner relies exclusively on his family members as labor force and secures absolute loyalty from them; 2) paternalistic factory regime is a form of “government through the family” in which the median sized household factory owner mobilizes his own families and his fellow villager-worker families for self-discipline through each family and offers good welfare in exchange for workers’ long-term loyalty; 3) patrimonial factory regime is a form of “government for the family” in which the big household factory owner employs workers from a job agent’s rural community and decentralizes his power to his family members for factory operation, resulting in a layered loyalty structure. The easy contraction and expansion of household factories and their corresponding rapid adoption of different sub-types of familial factory regimes enhances the flexibility of both household production and the entire industrial district.

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