Corporate Women in Contemporary China : “We’ve Always Worked” book cover
1st Edition

Corporate Women in Contemporary China
“We’ve Always Worked”

ISBN 9780367685621
Published May 3, 2022 by Routledge
212 Pages

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Book Description

Based on extensive, multi-sited ethnographic research, this book focuses on the culture of work in today’s urban China and on how it has permeated beyond the workplace to shape bodily training, family life, and kinship and social relationships among white-collar women in their twenties and thirties. Facing challenges to cope with the increasingly intensified dual burden of work and family, whitecollar women are not turning their backs on their jobs but are turning their bodies and homes into work. In an era when the state and society heighten pressure on individual young women’s productivity and reproductivity at the same time, the book examines how white-collar women seek to protect their right to work, embody a work ethic, and make their reproductive life a productive domain. Integrating studies of labor, the body, gender, and kinship, this book shows how the ethics and strictly defined discipline of hard work and overtime work are transposed from the office cubicle to the gym and home. It thereby demonstrates how the emergence, embodiment, and extension of a work culture perpetuate the hegemony of the work ethic, and how they have exerted a profound impact on women’s bodies, selves, and lives.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I: Work 1. The 6 p.m. Struggle: Changing Configurations of Work, a Culture of Overtime Work, and Corporate Governmentality 2. Falling Into the "Work Hole"?: Accommodating a Culture of Overtime Work 3. Protecting Work: Desiring Stability, Developing the Worker-Self, and Improving Employability Part II: Body 4. "You’ve Got to Have Core Muscles": Disciplining Hardworking Bodies Part III: Home 5. Women Between Nei and Wai: Leaving Home to Work and Retreating from Work to Home 6. Spreadsheet Wife and Pep Talk Mom: Turning Home into Work 7. Doing the Job and Not Doing It Well: Grandmaternal Labor and Care Work in Urban Chinese Families

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Xinyan Peng is currently Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology in the School of Sociology and Anthropology at Sun Yat-sen University in China. She previously taught at the Department of Anthropology in the School of Philosophy and Social Development at Shandong University. Her research was awarded the David M. Schneider Award by the American Anthropological Association and the Best Paper Prize by the journal Asian Anthropology. Her research specializations and interests include labor/work, family/kinship, gender, and the body.