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Transient dwelling : trains as places of identification for the floating population of China.

Crang, M.A. and Zhang, J. (2012) 'Transient dwelling : trains as places of identification for the floating population of China.', Social and cultural geography., 13 (8). pp. 895-914.

Abstract

China has experienced massive rural–urban migration, producing the huge so-called ‘floating population’ (liudong renkou). This article attends to what it means to be thus between places by focusing on the embodied and emotional experience of migrant travel. Each year sees the Spring Festival rush (Chun Yun) with the largest annual movement of people as millions of these rural migrant laborers (nongmingong) return to their homes for the holidays. The Spring Festival rush is marked by huge crowds queuing overnight for train tickets, with throngs of migrants carrying woven bags of belongings and gifts on their shoulders, who end up standing in the overcrowded ‘hard-seat’ carriages of trains. By closely reading some of the poems from the emerging genre of ‘Hired laborers literature,’ this article explores migrants' affective and emotional journeys. It argues that this transit experience is one of the key shared sites of common identification for a migrant population whose mode of inhabitation is through circulation and mobility. It also argues that mobility creates shared experiences characterized by specific corporealities, material cultures, and senses of social stratification.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Rural migrants, Travel, Dwelling, Literary geography, Festivals, China.
Full text:PDF - Accepted Version (647Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2012.728617
Publisher statement:This is an electronic version of an article published in Crang, M.A. and Zhang, J. (2012) 'Transient dwelling : trains as places of identification for the floating population of China.', Social and cultural geography., 13 (8). pp. 895-914. Social and cultural geography is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1464-9365&volume=13&issue=8&spage=895
Record Created:26 Oct 2012 15:50
Last Modified:06 Apr 2014 00:32

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