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Gender and Globalization in Asia and the PacificMethod, Practice, Theory$
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Kathy E. Ferguson and Monique Mironesco

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831592

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831592.001.0001

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Gender and Modernity in a Chinese Economic Zone

Gender and Modernity in a Chinese Economic Zone

(p.213) Chapter 12 Gender and Modernity in a Chinese Economic Zone
Gender and Globalization in Asia and the Pacific

Nancy E. Riley

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the tendency of women working in the Dalian Economic Zone (DEZ) in Northeast China refer to the zone and their lives there as “paradise.” It argues that women in Dalian are susceptible to gender inequality and the rural/urban divide—a spatially defined status hierarchy that favors urbanites and disadvantages rural peasants. In this system, urban space is a signifier of modernity, and as such it plays a crucial role in how women in Dalian see the city and imagine their role in it. Thus, to understand the characterization of such a space as paradise, this chapter examines both what the city provides and the role of modernity in China today, and how discourses of the urban and of gender influence the lives of women workers.

Keywords:   gender inequality, rural–urban divide, Dalian Economic Zone, DEZ, China, status hierarchy, urban space, modernity

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