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Title: Liminality and transformative habitus : the case of returned women migrant workers in Qianjiang
Authors: Peng, Juan
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Guided by Bourdieu's concepts of "habitus" and "field", and Turner's notion of "liminality", the primary purpose of this thesis is to examine the lifeworld of returned women migrant workers and their experiences by bringing out these' women own voices. When this study began, the hypothesis was that after an extended period working in the city, many rural migrant workers would have to abandon their rural way of life and acquired an urban habitus as they entered different "fields" in their daily lives. Hence when they decided to return to their hometown, having carried with their urban habitus to resettle in a rural setting again, they would be experiencing a transitional stage of liminality which could wreak havoc on their personal and social lives. Findings from the research, however, have indicated that their lives in post-return period were far from being simple. For one thing, instead of abandoning one habitus and acquiring another, in reality they were developing a mixed habitus, combining traditional rural and Confucian values and practices such as filial piety and conformity with the modern urban aspirations of seeking independence, freedom and personal autonomy with determination and courage, resisting gender submission and passivity and confronting confusion and uncertainties of liminality in their process of resettlement and readjustment. Many of their daily personal and social practices were deliberately innovative albeit necessarily compromising. These findings have illustrated the limitations of the Boudieusian concepts of habitus as discrete domains. Instead, habitus should be seen as fluid, blurring and interacting, blending boundaries, temporal and spatial, just like the division of rurality and urbanity in China is beginning to break down as rural-urban mobility, collaboration and interchange increased and fueled speedily by government policies and digital connections. As well, the notion of liminality, especially viewed in these women's perspective, should be considered not as a temporary, transitional period where there is a visible beginning or end; rather it could be regarded as a persistent, on-going, and may be permanent condition of life when contemporary lives in rural and urban settings are increasingly interfaced. These experiences shared by the returned migrant women have also highlighted that in navigating their own lives, their gendered perspective and wisdom should not only be overlooked but need to be investigated further in filling the gap of current literature on return migration.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Internal migrants -- China
Rural-urban migration -- China
Return migrants -- China
Women -- Social conditions
Pages: vii, 296 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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