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Dramatic Demonstrations to Demand Back Wages: The Logic of Practice of Informal Defenses of Legitimate Rights (“讨薪秀”:正当权利非正式维护的实践逻辑)

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Dramatic demonstrations to ask for back wages, especially among construction workers, have attracted much attention. This paper is intended to explore the mechanism behind these demonstrations. Government and capital have reached a kind of tacit agreement centering on informal economic practices. In the opposition between capital and migrant workers, the lack of unified labor action places the latter at a disadvantage when bargaining with the former. The informal economy and its practices have encouraged capital to delay the payment of wages and have rendered the state’s labor laws largely ineffective, leaving migrant workers little choice but to go outside the law to protest. Multilayered subcontracting in the construction industry has aggravated delays in the payment of wages and has made it more difficult for workers to obtain payment. The subsistence pressures faced by the workers in their growing proletarianization have driven them to demand payment. The state’s insistence on stability, capital’s preoccupation with “rational” profit-seeking, and the elitism that currently dominates popular culture have together shaped the form of the dramatic demonstrations. To solve this problem at its root, workers’ self-organizing to change their disadvantaged status might offer a way out—something the government should encourage and support in order to maintain social stability.This article is in English.农民工,尤其是建筑业农民工的“讨薪秀”行为得到广泛关注。本文尝试揭示该行为背后的机理。分析发现:在转型社会这个场域中,国家和资本在“发展”的大背景下达成一种“合意”,即非正规化的经济实践;在资本和农民工的博弈中,农民工尚未联合起来形成一股足以与资本议价的力量,从而处于下风。非正规经济实践放任了资本的欠薪行为,并从根本上导致了国家劳工保护性立法对于农民工的无效性,使得农民工几乎只能进行法外维权。建筑行业的劳动分包体制加剧了其欠薪的严重性和讨薪的艰难性。农民工生存权利在日益深入的无产阶级化中受到的威胁要求他们尽可能讨回薪水。处于法律之外的讨薪方式,在国家的稳定逻辑、资本的现实理性和精英主义的大众文化的共同运作下,最终聚焦于“讨薪秀”这种方式。要从根本上改变这种境况,农民工自我组织化可作为未来考虑的方向。


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