The astonishing scale of internal migration in China since 1980s can be compared to only a few cases in world history. The migration gave birth to a vast number of peasant workers with their family members left behind in rural communities. Dominant studies on migration address mainly the following questions: why people migrate, what impacts migration has brought about, and how to cope with such positive or negative influences. This review paper builds on this rich body of literature and engages with critical agrarian studies. A better understanding of rural-urban migration in China from a critical agrarian studies perspective can be better achieved in the context of the historical emergence of a new (semi-) proletariat class and the biopolitics of their migration. Based on this and the aforementioned discussion, we will point to potential future studies as a conclusion.

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doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2013.861421, hdl.handle.net/1765/50856
The Journal of Peasant Studies
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Ye, J., Wang, C., Wu, H., He, C., & Liu, J. (2013). Internal migration and left-behind populations in China. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 40(6), 1119–1146. doi:10.1080/03066150.2013.861421