Assembling the New China: Labor Brokerage

The growth of the Greater Bay Area in South China is still heavily reliant on the access to cheap labor. This seminar examines the role of labor brokers in shaping rural-urban labor migration in China.  

Image of a restaurant in Nansha, Guangzhou, China. Text in Chinese: The Greater bay Area walking Towards the World.

Design by Katharine Gill. Photos: Sean Foley & Nabeel Hussain, Unsplash.


International time: 21:00 Beijing, 15:00 Oslo, 09:00 Washington DC.

Sign-up for the seminar



Julia Chuang’s presentation is based on her book Beneath the China Boom: Labor, Citizenship, and the Making of a Rural Land Market (University of California Press 2020). Xinrong Ma will give the talk “Runaway Nora” : Liangshan Yi women workers in co-ethnic brokerage system, on gender and ethnic Yi labor brokerage.

Julia Chuang

Julia Chuang
Julia Chuang

Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston College. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA from Harvard University.  Her research focuses on the transformation of rural China and its implications for China's economic development.  She has published articles on land politics and China's shift from labor-intensive manufacturing to land-intensive urbanization.  Her recent book, Beneath the China Boom: Labor, Citizenship, and the Making of a Rural Land Market, was published by UC Press in 2020.


Xinrong Ma

Xinrong Ma

Dr Ma is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Political Science, School of Government, Sun Yat-Sen University, China. She holds a PhD in  Chinese Studies is from the Institute of Area Study, Leiden University. She has published several journal articles on the theme of ethnic minority labor migration and citizenship and is the author of the PhD thesis 'Entrapment by Consent': The Co-ethnic Brokerage System among Ethnic Yi Labor Migrants in China (“合意的圈套” : 彝族打工者的劳务中介).


Yunyun Zhou

Dr Zhou is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Oslo and will chair the seminar. She completed an MSc in Sociology and PhD in Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford (2020). She previously taught at Sciences Po Paris.

Heidi Østbø Haugen

The seminar series is hosted by Heidi Østbø Haugen, professor of China Studies at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages. She heads the ERC-funded project Brokering China’s Extraversion: An Ethnographic Analysis of Transnational Arbitration (Brokex).

Other events in the Brokex Spring 2021 Seminar Series

SEZ@40: Shenzhen as a New Global Development Model?

Date and time: 3 February 2021. 22:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 09:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Juan Du: The Shenzhen Experiment: The Story of China’s Instant City

Kean Fan Lim: On Shifting Foundations: State Rescaling, Policy Experimentation and Economic Restructuring in Post-1949 China

Discussant: Siv H. Oftedal

New Type of Great Power Relations: Global Power and Chinese National Identity

Date and time: 3 March 2021. 22:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 09:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Manjari Chatterjee Miller: Why Nations Rise: Narratives and the Path to Great Power

Lina Benabdallah: Shaping the future of power.Knowledge Production and Network Building in China-Africa Relations.

Discussant: Ilaria Carrozza

Brokers of Aspirations: Education and Cosmopolitanism


Date and time: 5 May 2021. 22:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 09:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Shuning Liu: Neoliberalism, Globalization, and "Elite" Education in China: Becoming International

Bingyu Wang: New Chinese Migrants in New Zealand: Becoming Cosmopolitan? Roots, Emotions, and Everyday Diversity

Discussant: Yi’En Cheng


Heidi Østbø Haugen


Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages

The seminar is organized as part of the project Brokering China’s Extraversion: An Ethnographic Analysis of Transnational Arbitration (Brokex). The project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 802070).

EU- and ERC-logos


Published Jan. 24, 2021 11:04 PM - Last modified Mar. 15, 2021 10:06 PM