The Agriculture-Migration Nexus in China: A View from the Field

Loretta Lou Discussion
The Agriculture-Migration Nexus in China: A View from the Field
Dr. Lena Kaufmann (University of Zurich)
April 27 2021, 2:00 - 3:30pm (GMT+1)
How do rural Chinese households deal with the conflicting pressures of migrating into cities to work as well as staying at home to preserve their fields? This is particularly challenging for rice farmers, because paddy fields have to be cultivated continuously to retain their soil quality and value. Presenting ethnographic insights from the recently published book Rural-Urban Migration and Agro-Technological Change in Post-Reform China (2021), this talk describes farming households’ strategic solutions to this predicament. The talk shows how, in light of rural-urban migration and agro-technological change, farmers manage to sustain both migration and farming. Focusing on the land-use decisions of staying and migrating household members, it becomes clear that (1) paddy fields play a key role in shaping farmers’ everyday strategies; (2) ostensibly technical farming decisions are always also social decisions that are closely interlinked with migration decisions; and (3) we need to pay more attention to the material world of migration and the related knowledge and skills.
About the Speaker
Lena Kaufmann is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of History and a research associate at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, both at the University of Zurich. She studied anthropology and sinology in Rome, Berlin and Shanghai and holds a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Zurich. Lena spent nearly four years in China, where she has conducted ample research on migration in the city and countryside. She is the author of Rural-Urban Migration and Agro-Technological Change in Post-Reform China (open access, Amsterdam University Press 2021). Her current research project focuses on Swiss-Chinese entanglements in digital infrastructures.
April 27, 2021
2:00 - 3:30pm (GMT+1)
This webinar will take place online via Zoom.
Please register:
After registering, a separate Zoom registration link will be emailed to you.
The seminar is supported by the Department of Life Sciences and Research Center for Anthropology and Health (CIAS), University of Coimbra.
Webinar Convenors: Dr. Loretta Lou, Prof. Gonçalo Santos and Yichen Rao.
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