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Vol. 20. Num. 3. 2011. Pages 281-294

Migrant Workers´ Community in China: Relationships among Social Networks, Life Satisfaction and Political Participation

[Comunidad de Trabajadores Emigrantes en China: Relaciones entre Redes Sociales, Satisfacción Vital y Participación Política]

Xu, Qingwen Palmer, Neal A.

Abstract

The millions of persons migrating from China´s rural areas to urban spaces have contributed greatly to the country´s decades-long economic growth, and the influx of migrants has changed the fabric of China´s urban social and economic life. These internal migrants, similar to many international immigrants, depend heavily on their social networks, which are often developed in their rural villages, for jobs, housing, financial assistance, and social support both during and after migration. Consequently, migrants´ networks function distinctly in well-being and behavior. Using data from the 2006 China General Social Survey, this article seeks to 1) investigate the existence of migrant sub-groups in China, 2) understand the characteristics of social networks among sub-groups, and 3) explore the relationships social networks hold to life satisfaction and political participation among China´s migrant population. This article asserts that China´s migrant population includes several sub-groups emerging on the basis of gender, education, age, and marital status, which in turn produce different patterns of ties and social interactions among their social networks. While this article finds very different employment patterns among migrant sub-groups, migrant networks do not appear to strongly influence perceptions and behaviors, such as life satisfaction and political participation. This article also argues that individual networks could facilitate the development of migrant communities in cities.

Resumen

Durante décadas, millones de personas han emigrado desde las áreas rurales de China hacia las ciudades, y realizado una importante contribución al desarrollo económico del país, cambiando el tejido social y económico de las ciudades. Estos emigrantes internos, al igual que los inmigrantes internacionales, dependen en gran medida de sus redes sociales para encontrar trabajo, vivienda, asistencia financiera, y apoyo social tanto durante como después de la migración, contribuyendo significativamente a su bienestar. A partir de los datos del Encuesta Social General de China del 2006, este artículo 1) describe los diferentes subgrupos de inmigración en China, 2) analiza las características de sus redes sociales, y 3) explora la contribución de éstas a su participación política y satisfacción vital. Este artículo propone clasificar la población emigrante china en subgrupos por razón de género, educación, edad y estado civil, los cuales producen diferentes patrones de conexiones e interacciones entre sus redes sociales. El presente estudio revela patrones de empleo muy diferenciados entre los distintos subgrupos de emigrantes, en cambio sus redes no parecen tener una importante contribución en sus percepciones y conductas, tales como su satisfacción vital y participación política. Este artículo también plantea que las redes personales podrían facilitar el desarrollo de las comunidades de emigrantes en las ciudades.

Palabras clave

análisis de cluster#análisis de red#emigración interna china#hukou#migración del campo a la ciudad
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