Ivan Franceschini is a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Australian National University. His research mainly focuses on labour issues in China and the social impact of Chinese investment in Southeast Asia—in particular, Cambodia. He is the founder and co-editor of the Made in China Journal and The People’s Map of Global China. His latest books are the co-edited volumes Afterlives of Chinese Communism: Political Concepts from Mao to Xi (ANU Press and Verso Books, 2019), Xinjiang Year Zero (ANU Press, 2022), and Proletarian China: A Century of Chinese Labour (Verso Books, 2022). With Tommaso Facchin, he co-directed the documentaries Dreamwork China (2011) and Boramey: Ghosts in the Factory (2021).

The Urbanisation of People: A Conversation with Eli Friedman

In his new book, The Urbanization of People: The Politics of Development, Labor Markets, and Schooling in the Chinese City (Columbia University Press, 2022), Eli Friedman offers a novel take on China’s handling of internal migration through the perspective of migrant workers’ children. Through ethnographic research and hundreds of in-depth interviews, he shows how the […]

Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: A Conversation with Robert Ovetz and Jenny Chan

As the Made in China Journal was born as a platform to document labour struggles in China, we always welcome the publication of books and studies that offer novel perspectives on the ‘world of labour’. In this conversation, we discuss two recent additions to the literature: Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: Strategies, Tactics, Objectives, […]

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The Effable Worker

Notes on Italy's New Working-Class Literature

Locked in a shelter for the homeless on a weekend along with a few dozen vagrants, a young George Orwell was feeling the pangs of boredom. He had nothing to read, nothing to do, and could not even look outside since the windows were too high. He tried to listen to the general conversation, but […]

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Primo Levi, Camp Power, and Terror Capitalism: A Conversation with Darren Byler

What does Italian writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi have to tell us about life in reeducation camps in Xinjiang today? What role does labour play in these facilities? What is terror capitalism and how does it relate to other frontiers of global capitalism? Can there be such a thing as ‘benign’ surveillance? These and […]

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Everyday Necro-Capitalism

One of the perks of being the son of an Italian railway worker is that, when I was younger, I could hop on and off any train I wanted without having to buy a ticket. Those were the days before high-speed trains, when Italy’s rail network mostly comprised ‘regional’ and ‘interregional’ trains, which moved very […]

The Work of Culture

Of Barons, Dark Academia, and the Corruption of Language in the Neoliberal University

There was a time when academia was society’s refuge for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical. No longer. It is now the domain of professional self-marketers. As for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical: it would seem society now has no place for them at all. — David Graeber (2015: 134–35)   Much has been written in […]

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Building the New Macau: A Portrait of Chinese Construction Workers in Sihanoukville

Due to a massive and sudden influx of capital from China, much of which was invested in shadowy gambling operations, in just a few years Sihanoukville went from a dreamy, low-budget tourist destination on the Cambodian coast to Southeast Asia’s ‘new Macau’. When, in the summer of 2019, the Cambodian authorities banned online gambling, the local economy came tumbling down. As construction sites all over the city halted operation, workers, both Chinese and Cambodian, were hit particularly hard by the crisis. This essay looks into their plight.

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Workers and Change in China: A Conversation with Manfred Elfstrom

In his new book, Workers and Change in China: Resistance, Repression, Responsiveness (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Manfred Elfstrom delves into the paradox that sees the Chinese Party-State addressing workers’ grievances while coming down increasingly hard on civil society groups and individual activists promoting labour rights. Examining both the causes and the consequences of protest through […]

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Red Silk: A Conversation with Robert Cliver

In Red Silk: Class, Gender, and Revolution in China’s Yangzi Delta Silk Industry (Harvard University Press 2020), Robert Cliver reconstructs the history of Chinese silk production in the Yangzi River Delta during the wars, crises, and revolutions of the twentieth century. Based on extensive research in Chinese archives and focussed on the 1950s, the book […]

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Hunting Sorcerers in Cambodia

Over the past decade, Cambodia has seen dozens of witchcraft-related cases in which people were harassed or even killed because their neighbours suspected them of engaging in black magic. Through interviews with survivors and family members of the victims, this essay traces some of these cases and argues that such occurrences are linked not only to poverty and exclusion, but also to a more fundamental collision between two worlds.

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