Trapped in Time: Bodily Experiences of Family Dependent Workers (jiashu) in Daqing, a Model Industrial City in High-socialist China
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The thesis focuses on the bodily experiences of family dependent workers (jiashu) in Daqing, an industrial city in high-socialist China. Jiashu referred to housewives that were mobilized by the state as temporary “workers” but didn’t enjoy the due social status or welfare. The thesis uses two kinds of materials: life stories of Daqing jiashu who worked in the 1960s-70s, and a drama on Daqing jiashu, The Rising Sun. The Maoist Marxist theorization of women’s liberation prophesied that women would be liberated by fully participating in productive labor. Bound by their housewife identity, jiashu was never included in the state’s imagination of a utopian communist future. The state included jiashu’s productive bodies for socialist industrialization, and excluded jiashu’s reproductive bodies as their own “burden” that should be overcome by themselves. The high-speed economic growth of socialism largely depended on the gendered division of labor and these docile socialist female bodies.