Markets and Bodies: Women, Service Work, and the Making of Inequality in China

Synopsis

Insulated from the dust, noise, and crowds churning outside, China's luxury hotels are staging areas for the new economic and political landscape of the country. These hotels, along with other emerging service businesses, offer an important, new source of employment for millions of workers, but also bring to light levels of inequality that surpass most developed nations.

Examining how gender enables the globalization of markets and how emerging forms of service labor are changing women's social status in China, Markets and Bodies reveals the forms of social inequality produced by shifts in the economy. No longer working for the common good as defined by the socialist state, service workers are catering to the individual desires of consumers. This economic transition ultimately affords a unique opportunity to investigate the possibilities and current limits for better working conditions for the young women who are enabling the development of capitalism in China.