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The Children of China's Great Migration


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Table of Contents

1. Understanding the lives of left-behind children in rural China; 2. Migration, education and family striving in four counties of Anhui and Jiangxi; 3. Sacrifice and study; 4. Boys' and girls' experiences of distribution in striving families; 5. Children in 'mother at-home, father out' families; 6. Children of lone-migrant mothers and at-home fathers; 7. Children in skipped generation families; 8. Left-behind children in striving teams; Appendix: field research on left-behind children in China.

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Rachel Murphy explores Chinese children's experience of having migrant parents and the impact this has on family relationships in China.

About the Author

Rachel Murphy is Professor of Chinese Development and Society and fellow of St Antony's College at the University of Oxford. She is President of the British Association of Chinese Studies and the author of How Migrant Labor Is Changing Rural China (2002).


'In contrast to most discussion of left behind children, Rachel Murphy puts children at the center of her analysis. Her conceptualization of families divided by parental migration as multi-local 'striving teams' both deepens our understanding of the children's participation and identifies specific policies that could reduce the suffering and insecurity of tens of millions of divided families.' Deborah Davis, Yale University, Connecticut
'In this sociological first, Rachel Murphy brings children's voices into the conversations about China's strategy of rapid capital accumulation based on a labor migration system involving long-term separation of migrant parents in the cities from children left in the villages. Combining great erudition with heartrending vignettes of generation after generation trapped in ceaseless toil in pursuit of unreachable dreams, this important study will change our understandings of migration, family, and gender in this major world power.' Susan Greenhalgh, Harvard University, Massachusetts
'A meticulous and insightful chronicle of China's left-behind generation. The voices of children separated from their parents defy a simplistic characterization of a 'lost generation'. The lives of tens of millions of children continue a story of the Chinese family's long-held tradition of striving and sacrifice for better lives.' Wang Feng, University of California, Irvine
'This book will inspire scholars and students in the fields of adult-child relationships, migration and multilocal families, and children's education with a fresh look at migration, family, and gender in contemporary China.' G. Li, Choice

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