Joel Andreas is Associate Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, and studies political contention and social change in China. His first book, Rise of the Red Engineers: The Cultural Revolution and the Rise of China’s New Class (2009), analysed the contentious merger of old and new elites following the 1949 Revolution. His latest book, Disenfranchised: The Rise and Fall of Industrial Citizenship in China (2019), traces radical changes that have fundamentally transformed industrial relations over the past seven decades.
Work units (单位) and the ‘cradle-to-grave’ employment model that they represented have not escaped the general rejection of China’s Maoist past. Not only have they become symbols of inefficiency, but they have also been criticised for putting workers in a position of total dependence and therefore subjugation. In Disenfranchised: The Rise and Fall of Industrial […]