Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

This book uncovers the mysterious social and political structures of China's "Third Front," the large state-sponsored development of inland China during the late Maoist period. This movement gave birth to a few important industrial bases such as Panzhihua and Liupanshui and had significant impact on megacities such as Lanzhou, Wuhan, and Chongqing. Yet, this is scarcely known to the West and even the younger generation of Chinese. Chen explores the ways that new industrial structures and hierarchies were created and operated, using political and sociological methodologies to understand what is distinctive in the history of the Chinese corporation. This book will be of immense interest to political scientists, sociologists, China scholars, and researchers of alternative economic structures.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
What sort of industrial relations can be found in the Third Line Enterprises? To answer this question, this chapter makes a review of existing literature on Chinese state-owned enterprises’ (SOEs) management and further presents the theoretical framework of this book. In this chapter, the author argues that while facing workers’ rule-breaking behaviors, group leaders of the Third Line Enterprises do not usually punish them or report them to their senior managers. Instead, they are inclined to exhibit tolerance. The author also indicates that the group leaders’ toleration is an adaptive strategy cultivated by the factory’s densely interconnected social networks and the workers’ control on production lines in isolated areas.
Chao Chen

Chapter 2. The Third Line Construction and Jinjiang Factory

Abstract
This chapter briefly introduces the Third Line Construction and Jinjiang Factory, the field site of this study. In comparison with the other seven enterprises in the machinery industry of Chengdu city, this chapter shows that Jinjiang Factory does not differ in any major respect. As a key project in Chengdu, the factory is concealed in the mountain area, made up of many transferred workers, and operated with multifarious organizations. It thus conforms to the typical template of Third Line Enterprises in almost all aspects. Although no single case can fully represent the whole picture, the typicality of Jinjiang Factory makes it at least a decent case to study.
Chao Chen

Chapter 3. The Context of Toleration (1): Isolated Life in Jinjiang Factory

Abstract
This chapter reveals that the Third Line Construction brings to life a number of remote, wild, and uncultivated spots in mountainous areas. In each of these newly created spots, a group of well-educated people are gathered and put in their efforts for the sake of industrial production. Transferred from leading cities, these people maintain their habits of urban life, which is in sharp contrast to the surrounding rural areas. With the development of the factory and the provision of essential supporting facilities, these previously uncultivated spots gradually develop into many “mini-cities” independent from the surrounding villages. It is precisely this unique characteristic of isolation that carves the featured relationship of workers and their workplaces.
Chao Chen

Chapter 4. The Context of Toleration (2): Interconnected Social Networks

Abstract
This chapter explains the emotional basis for toleration. The author shows that, due to living in the mountains, isolated from the outside world, workers at Jinjiang Factory seek their friends and marital partners within the factory. In this process, they become interconnected in one way or another. However, this interconnection does not occur in a random manner. It is constrained within the subgroup that the worker belongs to. The author further indicates that workers at Jinjiang Factory are divided into three groups: transferred workers, Returned Educated Youths, and demobilized soldiers. This division of workers is strengthened by their occupational niches in the factory and reinforced in day-to-day interactions inside and outside the workshop. Based on the illustration of social relations at Jinjiang Factory, in this chapter, the author also explains how the interconnected relations in the Third Line Enterprises differ from their counterparts in urban areas.
Chao Chen

Chapter 5. The Context of Toleration (3): Workers’ Control on Production

Abstract
In this chapter, the author argues that the toleration of group leaders is also an accommodation derived from their own preference and the capacity of the workshop. The job immobility in the factory means that group leaders care more about their reputations and friendships with others. In addition, the job immobility also enables the workers to develop a series of ways to control their daily pace of work. Underpinned by permanent employment status, these autonomies provide the workers with influential leverage over their relations with the group leaders. In a word, working in these circumstances, the group leaders are not completely willing and able to control strictly.
Chao Chen

Chapter 6. Toleration in Practice (1): The Phenomenon of Absenteeism

Abstract
This chapter introduces the problem of absenteeism in Jinjiang Factory from two aspects—the seriousness of absenteeism and the factors that lead to the workers’ absences. Using the factory’s meeting minutes, the author shows that during the late 1970s and the 1980s, the problem of absenteeism is a phenomenon existing throughout the whole factory rather than only one or two workshops. Workers’ misbehavior in working time and periodic impromptu personal matters are two main types of factors leading to workers’ absences.
Chao Chen

Chapter 7. Toleration in Practice (2): The Governance of Absenteeism

Abstract
In this chapter, the author illustrates the tolerating strategy through the example of absenteeism management at Jinjiang Factory. The author argues that it embodies the group leaders’ tolerance and consideration toward every member’s exceptional circumstances. In so doing, the leaders win the members’ recognition and support. More importantly, through the solicitation of others’ assistance, this tolerance and consideration is exchanged among members, through which the group’s internal cohesion is gradually strengthened. In order to accumulate material support for this form of governance, group leaders invent a series of tactics. These help them to provide their members with more free time while maintaining their income at a certain level. In a word, it is the toleration that strengthens the group’s internal connections and guarantees the basic production in the face of interruptions.
Chao Chen

Chapter 8. Conclusion

Abstract
This chapter summarizes this book and further discusses two important questions: What is the novelty of toleration as a model for a system of industrial governance? Does dependency lead to obedience? As for the first question, the author argues that the tolerance in the Third Line enterprises belongs to the accommodating mode of management, which is different from the suppressive mode and responsive mode discussed in the existing literature. For the second question, the author contends that this question cannot be answered in a general way. Without in-depth knowledge of how the different types of social networks are interwoven in the factory and how the power relations are reconstructed by active agents in the workshop, generalization may risk leading us further from the truth.
Chao Chen

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner

    Bildnachweise