Title of Project: Imagining space for change? The global-local influences and the new narratives on citizenship of Chinese internal migrants
This research examines how internal migrants are understood, imagined and constructed as citizens by various actors speaking out about them. I analyse the role the social actors, such as NGOs, IOs, academics and the media play in the construction of the alternative sense of citizenship in China, which differs from this defined by the hukou system. This thesis draws on the data collected throughout the 1-year-long fieldwork in China among migrant-orientated NGOs, IOs and academics (consisting of interviews, participant observation and primary materials in both Chinese and English), as well as on the analysis of secondary literature. This work employs critical theories of citizenship and poststructural theories of politics and IR to investigate the links between global and local factors playing role in the negotiation of citizenship of internal migrants in China. I intend to illustrate how understanding of citizenship in China does not have to be bound to the set of rights defined by the state, but rather that it can be understood as a wider phenomenon, that is negotiated both vertically and horizontally, and which is shaped by the dominant national as well as global discourses.
Supervisors: Prof. William A. Callahan and Dr Elena Barabantseva