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A Journey into the City

Migrant Workers’ Relation with the Urban Space and Struggle for Existence in Xu Zechen’s Early jingpiao Fiction

Federico Picerni    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia; Universität Heidelberg, Deutschland    

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abstract

In contemporary China, rural-urban migrants constitute a new urban subject with entirely new identity-related issues. This study aims at demonstrating how literature can be a valid field in investigating such evolving subjectivities, through an analysis of Xu Zechen’s early novellas depicting migrants’ vicissitudes in Beijing. Combining a close reading of the texts and a review of the main social problems characterising rural-urban migration in China, this paper focuses on the representation of the identity crisis within the migrant self in Xu’s stories, taking into account the network of meanings employed by the writer to signify the objective and subjective tension between the city and the countryside.

Published
June 27, 2019
Accepted
March 20, 2019
Submitted
Feb. 13, 2019
Language
EN

Keywords: Chinese rural-urban migrantsXu ZechenIdentityContemporary Chinese literatureUrban literature

Copyright: © 2019 Federico Picerni. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.