Aurélia Desplain et Katiana Le Mentec en mission à Hong Kong

Aurélia Desplain et Katiana Le Mentec (CCJ-CECMC) seront en mission la semaine du 28 octobre 2019 à Hong Kong dans le cadre du projet “Internal Migration and Marginality in China” dirigé par Florence Padovani et Ho Wingchung (programme PHC PROCORE 2018/2019)

Elles participeront notamment au Workshop “Marginality and internal migration in contemporary China” organisé par Ho Wingchung et Florence Padovani à la City University de Hong Kong.


Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences, CityU

G7603, 7/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building


28 octobre 2019

Intervention de Aurélia Desplain

“Facing a new world”: mobility of the dagong and negotiated modernities

Based on an ethnological approach (research conducted between 2013 and 2015, during 10 months) this communication gives the floor to several dagongmei employed in a coffee shop in the city of Kunming, and presents their experiences of geographical mobility. In the moral geography of China today, the city is the very place of modernity: the media largely relay a speech according to which the rural areas are empty of opportunities, far behind in terms of economic development; agricultural work is devalued, as is manual labor in general, while prestige goes to the technical professions, to intellectual knowledge. This paper aims at showing on the one hand the incorporation by young women of these ideological dispositions, and on the other hand the reinvestment of this space-time of the dagong by the young women for the affirmation of negotiated modernities. Being a dagongmei is a transitional situation (generally lasting four to five years), liminal in a changing society, this transitory nature being structurally determined, since it is very difficult for a person holding a rural hukou to settle permanently in the city. For most of the people we met in this survey, dagong is thus carried out in the premarital period, they invest this period with their projects of discovering the world (kankan waimian de shijie), to flourish on a personal level (geren fazhan) and to postpone the age of marriage to a few years later

Ways of moving and consuming, while working as a dagongmei. Photo session on holidays in November 2014, Yunnan (A. Desplain)

Intervention de Katiana Le Mentec

Defusing and enchanting (forced) migration.
About the conceptual propositions of Xiao Min, county’s leader upstream of the Three Gorges Dam

Xiao Min was 36 years old when the Three Gorges engineering project was voted by the Chinese Assembly (1992). After a steady rise through the PCC levels, this low rank official originally from the area, reached Yunyang County’s highest level of governance. This county was among the most affected ones in the Three Gorges Reservoir. 200 000 persons were included in the relocation plan (approximatively one in every six inhabitants), 40 000 of them (mostly peasants) had to be relocated outside Yunyang, while the county seat itself had to be rebuilt in its entirety 30 kilometers upstream. Communist Party Secretary then County’s Head commissioner, Xiao Min led the county precisely in the midst of these significant events (1997-2006). Over the course of his terms, he carefully elaborated a positive interpretation of the officially called “Three Gorges Migration” (sanxia yimin). His vision was extensively promoted in Yunyang first, then at the regional level after his promotion at the Chongqing bureau of Culture in 2006. The presentation introduces Xiao Min concepts of “Yunyang Spirit of Migration” (云阳移民精神) and “Yunyang Culture of Migration” (云阳移民文化), as well as the issues their were involved in. After reflecting upon such cases – in and out China – of positively framing migrations, the presentation concludes in proposing some hypothesis about the failure of Xiao Min’s initiative to defuse and enchant in Yunyang this specific (forced) migration.

Diorama du déplacement des Trois Gorges, Musée de Yunyang (Municipalité de Chongqing) source : K. Le Mentec, 2014

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