Globalization, Labor and Labor Movements, Development, Political Economy, China, East Asia
My research and teaching concentrate on globalization, labor and labor movements, development, and the political economy of China and East Asia. More specifically, I am interested in the dynamism of global capitalism and the ways in which its transformations are reshaping the nature and landscape of work and employment, producing divergent forms of oppression and resistance, and recurrently creating its own crises at global, national, local, and shop-floor levels.
My first book, Inside China’s Automobile Factories: The Politics of Labor and Worker Resistance (Cambridge University Press, 2015), explores the current conditions, subjectivity, and collective actions of autoworkers in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automobile manufacturing nation. Based on years of fieldwork and extensive interviews conducted at seven large auto factories in various regions of China, the book provides an inside look at the daily factory life of autoworkers and a deeper understanding of the roots of rising labor unrest in the auto industry. By combining empirical material with a multilayered analysis that moves from the shop floor to the national political economy and global industry dynamics, I develop a dynamic framework for understanding how labor relations in the auto industry and broader social economy can be expected to develop in China in the coming decades. The book has received two awards from the American Sociological Association, and has been reviewed favorably in leading sociology, labor, China and Asian studies, and social history journals.
I am currently working on my second book project, which explores how the movements of capital interact with labor politics and local development through a comparative case study of the global electronics industry from China’s coastal region to its interior and to Vietnam.
Zhang, Lu. 2015. Inside China’s Automobile Factories: The Politics of Labor and Worker Resistance. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Co-Winner of 2016 Asian and Transnational Studies Book Award, Asia and Asian America Section, American Sociological Association.
- Honorable Mention for 2015 Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, Labor and Labor Movement Section, American Sociological Association
- German translation, 2018. Arbeitskämpfe in Chinas Autofabriken. Berlin: Mandelbaum Verlag.
Peer-Reviewed Articles And Book Chapters:
Zhang, Lu and Tao Yang. 2019. “Worker Activism and Enterprise Union Reform in China: A Case Study of Grassroots Union Agency in the Auto Parts Industry.” Development and Change 0(0): 1–28. DOI: 10.1111/dech.12551 (Published as Early View).
Zhang, Lu. 2019. “Worker protests and state response in present-day China: trends, characteristics, and new developments, 2011–2016.” Pp. 119-136 in Handbook of Protest and Resistance in China, edited by Teresa Wright. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
---- Chinese translation in 公共生活评论, 2011.
---- German translation in Das Argument, 2009.
---- Italian translation in Devi Sacchetto and Massimiliano Tomba (eds.) La lunga accumulazione originaria, November, 2008, pp.177-189.