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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 Nationality, Ethnicity, and Status

The Politics of Nationality, Ethnicity, and Status

The Factory Office

(p.67) THREE The Politics of Nationality, Ethnicity, and Status
Chinese Labor in a Korean Factory

Jaesok Kim

Stanford University Press

Chapter Three examines the new meanings of class, ethnic, and social differences that are created and maintained by a multinational factory. In contemporary Chinese society, the term “white-collar” is used to describe the prestigious social status of high-paid office workers. At Nawon, however, the division can neither be explained by workers’ different skills and functions nor be reduced to class politics narrowly defined by economic terms. The division was embedded in the multiple ideologies such as nation, nationalism, and ethnicity as it came to overlap with the ethnic division between Korean-Chinese and Han-Chinese. This chapter investigates the backgrounds of the Korean-Chinese who held the prestigious white-collar jobs in the factory and examines the social and political implications of the emergence of Korean-Chinese as a “rich ethnic minority,” which counters the common interethnic division of labor wherein minorities occupy marginal and low-paid jobs.

Keywords:   blue-collar, class, cultural difference, Korean-Chinese, ethnic minority, ethnic discrimination, Han-Chinese (Hanzu), social status, Sino-centrism, white-collar

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