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Abstract

Many scholars have noted the rise of labor militancy in contemporary China. This rise is often linked to the growing discontent of an expanding working class facing harsh market conditions. We might expect workers in state-owned enterprises, which have suffered state-cut backs and harsh privatization, to be among the most militant. This study reveals, however, that workers at one of such state-owned enterprises are far from militant. I argue that the urgency of survival and the denial of alternative work opportunities have effectively prevented any form of collective resistance on the part of these workers. Instead, their resistance only manifests in forms of so-called everyday resistance. Furthermore, these forms of resistance work as a double-edged weapon with harmful consequences for both the regime and its workers.

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