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The Urbanization of People: The Politics of Development, Labor Markets, and Schooling in the Chinese City
October 6, 2022 at 2:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree
The Department of Economics, Philosophy and Political Science and the Department of History and Sociology invites you to attend a talk by Dr. Eli Friedman.
Beginning in 2014, China’s central government began pushing for more people to move to cities, as they believe that increased urbanization will be necessary in advancing a new phase of economic development. Despite cities’ heavy reliance on the labour of rural migrants, major institutional obstacles remain for those wishing to settle permanently. Perhaps the most important form of social exclusion for migrant workers is in education.
Using the school system as a lens on the urbanization process, I ask how local governments are managing flows of people into the city, which groups are included in which places and why, and what the socio-economic consequences of this approach are for Chinese society.
My key empirical argument is that urban governments are providing access to public education precisely to those that need it least, i.e. families with already high levels of economic, cultural, and social capital. The only option for excluded migrants is to enroll their children in resource-starved private schools, which are sometimes subjected to closure and even coercive demolition.
About the Speaker
Eli Friedman is Associate Professor and Chair of International and Comparative Labor at Cornell University’s ILR School. He is the author of The Urbanization of People: The Politics of Development, Labor Markets, and Schooling in the Chinese City (Columbia 2022) and Insurgency Trap: Labor Politics in Postsocialist China (Cornell 2014).