chapter  8
Gendering the Dormitory Labor System: Production, Reproduction, and Migrant Labor in South China
ByPun Ngai
Pages 20

This paper discusses the dormitory labor system, a Chinese labor system through which the international division of labor shapes the lives of women migrant workers. We understand this dormitory labor system as a gendered form of labor use that fuels global production in newly industrialized regions, especially in South China. Since the establishment of four Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in South China in the late 1970s, the new exportoriented industrialized regions, dominated by foreign-invested companies, have relied on the use of migrant laborers, mostly women, who work in the factories and live in the factory dormitories. All companies that employ migrant workers – irrespective of the company’s industrial sector and whether it is domestic or foreign-invested – provide accommodation to

these workers. By combining work and residence, production and daily reproduction are hence reconfigured for the sake of global capital use, with daily reproduction of labor almost entirely controlled by foreign-invested or privately owned companies.