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The state of workers: Labour protection versus workers' individualities, 1949–1966

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
Author: Zhang, Rui
This study explores the individualities of China's industrial labourers through their diverse responses to the labour protection project, one of the most significant and ambitious initiatives promoted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to benefit workers during the Mao era. This dissertation shows the interaction between the party's ideal labour protection policies and real workers' behaviours through examining the practice of the following five aspects of the labour protection policies: the management of workplace accidents, the use of PPE, heatstroke prevention, workers' recuperation in sanatoriums, and state-initiated activities to battle industrial fatigue. I argue that the CCP's focus on the policies, inspections, agreements, education, collective activities, the use of equipment, and health recovery treatment fell short because it failed to meet workers where they were, instead idealizing them as an advanced proletariat. In fact, workers were a heterogeneous group riven by many divides created by personal characteristics and individual desires.
242 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Brown, Jeremy
Thesis advisor: Cheek, Timothy
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