The research for this article was funded by a British Academy Career Development Grant and an Oxford University John Fell Fund Grant. The fieldwork was made possible by Professor Ran Tao (co-PI on the British Academy grant), Professor Chunhui Ye, Professor Guiyou Zhang, Professor Shuangxi Xiao, Ms Ernan Cui, Ms Xiaoqian Kuang and Mr Jianping Song. An earlier version of the paper was presented at a Workshop on Population Dynamics in South and East Asia, British Academy and Royal Society (29–30 March 2012). The author is grateful for helpful comments from the workshop participants, especially Anne Booth, Roy Huijsmans, Jonathan Rigg and Brenda Yeoh. She is also grateful for valuable feedback from John Harris, two anonymous reviewers and the journal editors.
Study and School in the Lives of Children in Migrant Families: A View from Rural Jiangxi, China
Article first published online: 9 JAN 2014
© 2014 International Institute of Social Studies
Development and Change
Volume 45, Issue 1, pages 29–51, January 2014
How to Cite
Murphy, R. (2014), Study and School in the Lives of Children in Migrant Families: A View from Rural Jiangxi, China. Development and Change, 45: 29–51. doi: 10.1111/dech.12073
- Issue published online: 9 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 9 JAN 2014
Millions of children in China have been ‘left behind’ in the countryside while their parents work in distant places to support the social reproduction of their families. This article examines the role of study and schooling in this process. The analysis shows that family strategies to pursue socio-economic mobility are intricately connected to state frameworks for providing support, and schools are central to this. This is because both family and state interests in the attributes and prospects of the next generation converge in schools. At the same time, on a day-to-day basis, the labour of children in schools and the labour of parents in the cities are intertwined. Specifically, by communicating with each other about study, and by focusing on the child's educational future as the key purpose of their daily work, both children and parents carry out their obligations towards each other, while finding ways to cope with the emotional difficulties that protracted physical separation entails.