Producing Gendered Migration Narratives in China: A Case Study of Dagongmei Tongxun by a Local NGO
This article offers a case study of a periodic publication, Dagongmei Tongxun, produced by local Chinese nongovernmental organization Rural Women Knowing All. Dagongmei Tongxun publishes articles regarding life and working situations of rural-to-urban women migrants (dagongmei) in Beijing. I apply Bourdieu’s field theory to analyze the ways Dagongmei Tongxun shapes the field of migration narratives. Drawing on interviews with the organization’s staff members, discourse analysis of the publication’s articles, and the state discourses of dagongmei, I argue that the publication of Dagongmei Tongxun is an institutionally bounded political and cultural project. Entitling women migrants to authorship is a political intervention that mobilizes often-silenced women as active agents in producing gendered migration narratives. Whereas the state discourses still tend to objectify and marginalize dagongmei, narratives by women migrants themselves present their diverse subjectivities and complex life situations. At the same time, the publication’s advocating discourses fail to confront hegemonic ideologies that underpin unequal power structures.