Revisiting rural-urban migrant men in China: exploring youth, masculinities and aspirations

This research studies a younger generation (i.e. post 1990s) of rural-urban migrant men (aged 16-24) and their gendered identity formation. Within the context of rapid globally inflected socio-cultural transformations, the project seeks to understand the ways in which young migrant men’s personal relationships and emerging subjectivities unfold in the following three arenas: family life; workplace; and social and leisure activities. It will ask the following questions:

(1) How do young migrant men of the post-1990s generation interpret changes in their relationships and identities, as they are experiencing migration and social marginalization?

(2) How do they understand and negotiate their masculinities in public and private domains, including their engagement within various social activities inside and outside the family, as a result of migration?

(3) How do they articulate their perceptions of the future based on their current life circumstances in relation to work and family lives?

More specifically, there will be a particular focus on their articulations of aspiration in the context of Chinese modernization, marked by progress and development. In turn, it aims to contribute to a theoretical understanding of changing masculinities, gender relations and age-specific identity formations beyond a Eurocentric position.

The project runs from July 2015 - January 2017 (Ref. SG142139).