In twenty-first-century Chinese cities there are hundreds of millions of rural
migrants who are living temporary lives, suspended between urban and rural
China. They are the unsung heroes of the country’s ‘economic miracle’, yet are
regarded as second-class citizens in both a cultural, material and legal sense.
China’s citizenship challenge tells the story of how civic organisations set up
by some of these rural migrants challenge this citizenship marginalisation. The
book argues that in order to effectively address the problems faced by migrant
workers, these NGOs must undertake ‘citizenship challenge’: the transformation
of migrant workers’ social and political participation in public life, the
broadening of their access to labour and other rights, and the reinvention of
their relationship to the city. By framing the NGOs’ activism in terms of
citizenship rather than class struggle, this book offers a valuable contribution
to the field of labour movement studies in China. The monograph also proves
exceptionally timely in the context of the state’s repression of these
organisations in recent years, which, as the book explores, was largely driven
by their citizenship-altering activism.
Manchester: the postcolonial city
60–90), the extent of the personal and community trauma that were its
consequence is profound.2 Indeed, as far as its artists and writers are
concerned, there seems to be little doubt that it has been the repeated
mistakes of the city’s planners and developers that have made
Manchester a ‘problem city’. Moreover, of particular relevance to the
‘Moving Manchester’ project is the inference that it has been these
enforced internalmigrations of large numbers of the city’s inhabitants
(counted in their hundreds of thousands) that have
Citizenship challenge, social inequality and the insecure state
The book’s conclusion reflects further on the internal and external
limitations to citizenship challenge driven by migrant worker NGOs,
particularly in the light of the crackdown in recent years on activists and
NGOs under Xi Jinping. The chapter enquires what this crackdown signifies,
given that the main organisations targeted are labour NGOs, and what role
the ‘citizenship challenge’ has played in instigating the state’s harsh
response. The conclusion also extrapolates the findings beyond the case of
labour NGOs in China, by presenting the applicability of the citizenship
framework to other instances of civic activism in China and other states
facing internal migrations.
example is the
break-up of the Soviet Union, where people who would previously have
been considered internal migrants were transformed into international
migrants (Arel 2002). However, this also highlights the issues with discussing migration with reference to international migration only. In the
case of the Soviet Union, migration from Yekaterinburg (in Russia) to
Vilnius (in Lithuania) would have been considered internalmigration.
Following the break-up, the same movement would have been considered international migration. Yet it involves the same distance travelled
lost population by way of emigration. Within every story there were conditions which prompted this outward
impulse. They each exhibited certain common features as well as special local
Each place – West Cork, Shropshire, West Sussex, Kent, Swaledale, the
Highlands, the Isle of Man, Cornwall and many other locations – all experienced
sudden and unprecedented population increases; their agricultural populations
rose and eventually fell absolutely as the national population continuously
increased. Everywhere, internalmigration to local places syphoned
how much mobility
was there in pre-industrial Europe? Internalmigration had been widespread but,
as in England, it was generally limited in its scope, with little effect on the balance
of population in most localities: mobility was confined within a relatively narrow
compass, with little long-distance migration except in unusual circumstances.
Emigration was a different matter since it took population right out of the
Tenurial traditions probably constrained the movement of populations in
much of Europe. When the English writer Mary Wollstonecraft visited
, 1986), pp. 295–337.
26 The decline of rural craftsmen’s employment is considered in Saville, ‘Internalmigration’, 9–10, 13. Moreover female employment fell greatly and was precipitating much
internalmigration, compounded by the loss of employment in cottage industries.
This tendency probably pre-dated the absolute decline of the rural population.
27 Wrigley, ‘Men on the land’, pp. 295–337.
28 Erickson, Leaving England, p. 13.
29 See Eric Richards, Destination Australia: Migration to Australia since 1901 (Sydney:
University of New South Wales Press, 2008
contexts. In Ireland, there are no legal restrictions on
internalmigration for Irish or other citizens who have a right to reside in
the country. People are free to move between urban and rural areas, for
example, or within urban areas. Unlike in the US, there are no regional
differences in professional certification, so once a doctor is registered
to work in Ireland, he or she is in theory free to work anywhere in the
country (Ellis 2012). In practice, however, there are some restrictions.
For example, people who are dependent on the state for housing do not
within Ireland. Throughout the period covered by the transfer records,
the number of players transferring clubs within Ireland has remained
significant. This suggests that internalmigration, particularly from more
rural and less wealthy parts of Ireland to its urban centres, is an important factor in the loss of membership experienced by small clubs. This
is likely to be exacerbated by changes in the patterns of transfers from
clubs outside Ireland, the second source. These types of transfers have
fallen in number in recent years, suggesting that migration from
and much more difficult in remoter
zones of the British Isles. Internalmigration was always an easier
option than emigration. The role of emigration was variable and in some
places subject to sudden bursts of enthusiasm and activity: the
vocabulary of emigration is full of ‘fevers’, outrushes,
obsessions, and floods, as though barely rational. Most migration was
more often a seepage, a scarcely