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Chinese Labor in a Korean FactoryClass, Ethnicity, and Productivity on the Shop Floor in Globalizing China$
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Jaesok Kim

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804784542

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804784542.001.0001

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The Politics of Spatial Divisions and the Living Environment

The Politics of Spatial Divisions and the Living Environment

Chapter:
(p.35) TWO The Politics of Spatial Divisions and the Living Environment
Source:
Chinese Labor in a Korean Factory
Author(s):

Jaesok Kim

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804784542.003.0002

Chapter Two provides ethnographic observations of how the spatial divisions in the factory expressed management’s scheme of labor control and maintained the hierarchical difference between management and labor. In the factory there was an intimate correspondence between one’s rank in the factory hierarchy and his/her living location and quality. The particular spatial divisions and the conditions of living in the factory operated as powerful instruments of social distinction. They inscribed national and ethnic differences into both the factory employees’ bodies and their consciousness, thus enhancing the foreign management’s control of local labor. The discriminating effect of spatial divisions and different living conditions became powerful when they operated through the most intimate human feelings of comfort and cleanliness. This chapter highlights the Han-Chinese workers’ pungent body odor, analyzing how the odor heavily stigmatized the workers and generated a powerful racial prejudice against them.

Keywords:   body odor, ethnic discrimination, factory hierarchy, Korean-Chinese, Han-Chinese (Hanzu), stigmatization, just-in-time system, scientific management, social distinction, village officials

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