Between rice and road
Chinese rice farmers’ strategies to preserve home resources in a migration context
It is estimated that up to 260 million internal Chinese migrants, corresponding to one third of Chinese farmers, have left their rural homes – most of them to work in the cities of the east coast of the People’s Republic of China (Ye et al. 2013). One reason for this massive rural-urban migration has been the rapid transformation of traditional farming practices, which set free rural labor by replacing humans with machines. However, due to uneven regional economic development, to a welfare system that privileges urbanites, and to a household registration system that prevents rural Chinese from permanent settlement in big cities, Chinese farmers are caught between the pressure to migrate and the need to preserve home resources. Through selected case studies my PhD project investigates how rice farmers in China strategically use and form their skills to act in this difficult situation.