Variegated Work Regimes of Chinese Companies in Ethiopia: Three Case Studies

Authors: Ding Fei*, Arizona State University
Topics: Economic Geography, China, Africa
Keywords: work regime, variegated capitalism, comparative case studies, Africa-China cooperation, Ethiopia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8228, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Drawing upon multiple strands of literature on variegated capitalism, production of factory regimes, and labor agency, the article develops a “variegated work regimes” framework to examine the heterogeneous and evolving relations among state, capital, and labor in China’s overseas companies in Africa. Three Chinese companies in Ethiopia are selected for case studies, representing Chinese capitals of different ownership backgrounds, sectoral focuses, and overseas operational capacities. Their local work regimes are socially and spatially embedded in the home and host country contexts as well as in the personal interests and motivations of individuals who seek to improve their life or career chances through work. Four inter-related forces are identified – capitalist logics, (sub)national rootedness, local embeddedness, and employee agency – that collectively shape the variegation of Chinese work regime in Africa.

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