ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Lean and Mean China

Inside China's Automobile Factories: The Politics of Labour and Worker Resistance by Lu Zhang; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015; pp xv+243, $19.99.

The book under review exhibits solid scholarship and concerns of the author about automobile labour relations and is undoubtedly the best book in recent times on lean production and labour control in the Chinese automobile industry. It has sought to explore the current conditions, subjectivity and collective action of Chinese autoworkers, and how shop-floor, national and global processes have interacted in complex ways to produce the specific labour relations and dynamics of labour unrest in the Chinese automobile industry.

Based on a decade-long endeavour in multisite ethnographic research in about seven large auto assembly plants, Lu Zhang, a sociology professor, essentially argues that if we are to fully understand the internal tensions and dynamics of lean production and its effects on workers and workplace restructuring, we must bring back in analyses the capitalist labour process, managerial control, and shop-floor resistance and accommodation.

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