The Introduction to the forthcoming special issue on Checkpoint Politics in Cross-border Exchanges, “The Political Economy of Border Checkpoints in Shadow Exchanges” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1555273), by the guest editors Tak-Wing Ngo of the Department of Government and Public Administration, University of Macau, Macau and Eva P. W. Hung of the Department of Social Science, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China is now available for free download.
“Secondary Precarity in Asia: Family Vulnerability in an Age of Unfree Labour” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2019.1572772) is a new article by Sallie Yea of the Department of Social Inquiry, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia. It is a fourth article in an upcoming special issue on Precarity in Asia.
The abstract states:
Scholarly discussions of precarious work have identified and analysed the conditions and structures that produce precarity, the contextual nuances that characterise worker relations across a range of sites and sectors and the possibilities of resistance by the precariat. In these studies, workers are often discussed with inadequate attention to their social embeddedness. Taking workers’ embeddedness in social relations and norms as a starting point for analysis, this article explores a secondary aspect of precarity amongst families of exploited workers. This aspect is analysed according to three registers of vulnerability and risk: economic (household and livelihood), intimate (anxiety and negative emotional relations) and physical (mobility and movement). The article outlines this framework through a case study of trafficked fishers and their families from Cambodia and the Philippines. Human trafficking is an extreme form of precarious labour, characterised by unfreedom and hyper-exploitation. The article contributes to the understanding of the trafficking of migrant fishers, which has not seen rigorous academic documentation and is relatively poorly understood in comparison to other forms of trafficking.
“Precarity, Cognitive (Non-)Resistance and the Conservative Working Class in China” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2019.1576215) is a new article by Jake Lin of the Institute of International Relations, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
This is a third article for a special issue on Precarity in Asia and its controversial interpretation should elicit some interesting debate.
The abstract states:
Workers’ resistance is crucial to understanding how the working class respond to the growing labour precarity in post-socialist China. The labour studies literature posits that inequality and volatile capital movements increase workers’ precarity and lead to stronger labour resistance, such as strikes. However, workers’ cognition as an integral part of resistance has been rarely studied. This article examines cognitive resistance by Chinese workers from different tier cities by looking at their social trust, class identity, understanding of policies and class solidarity. Despite capital movements and precarity causing more labour unrest, it does not necessarily lead to a stronger cognitive resistance. While inequality and precarity are greater in the more developed megacities with a shifting capital favourability, workers in megacities display a more conservative cognitive resistance than those from the lower-tier cities. This study of workers’ cognitive resistance provides insight into the future of the Chinese labour movement. It argues that the working class’s current cognitive non-resistance suggests that even if a window of opportunity were to appear in the wall of state oppression, workers are not cognitively prepared to coalesce into a coherent social movement that would bring about transformative changes.
“Land Grabbing in an Autocracy and a Multi-Party Democracy: China and India Compared” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2019.1569253) is a new article by Lynette H. Ong of the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Canada.
The abstract for the paper states:
Both China and India have witnessed extensive land expropriation by the state from farmers for use in industrialisation and urbanisation projects. Land conflicts have ensued from these developments. This article poses two questions: (i) Why do we see a similar escalation of land dispossession in both countries, despite their distinctively dissimilar political systems, one being a one-party authoritarian regime, the other being a multi-party democracy?; and (ii) How does the different regime type affect the politics of dispossession? Despite their diverse political institutions, government officials have been given similar incentives to chase growth by developing land, but the institutions create diverging environments for aggrieved citizens to mobilise for collective action. While it is unsurprising that the interests of the poor and weak are not protected in an autocracy, democracy provides no automatic safety valve in defending marginalised citizens either.
Arturo Giráldez of the School of International Studies at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, USA reviews a new book by JCA co-editor Geoffrey C. Gunn. World Trade Systems of the East and West. Nagasaki and the Asian Bullion Trade Networks, is published by Brill.
It was Adam Smith who “singled out the crucial importance of silver in the growth of global trade.” Gunn’s book focuses on Nagasaki a a critical centre of regional and world trade, particularly once the Europeans entered Asian waters. Giráldez observes:
The book narrates the vicissitudes of the Nagasaki trade, pays detailed attention to political institutions like the central “tributary system,” while detailing cultural aspects and religious histories. Description of artifacts, history of architecture as well as references to archaeological findings are incorporated into the narrative’s arguments and highly enrich them.
In so doing, Gunn “rejects Eurocentrism and European exceptionalism…”. The reviewer concludes:
Gunn has contributed a detailed study of Nagasaki trade during Japan’s unification and under the Tokugawa. It is an excellent contribution to global history and a required reference to understand the place of Japan in the world economy of the Modern Era.