Siyu Tang

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Oxford, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10542

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Tang, Siyu (Oxford, U. of) "Utopia of Indolence: Urban-Urban Mobility into China’s Rust Belt"

My research looks into the migration of young people in China from various fast-developing cities to a post-industrial desolate city named Hegang, as they feel ‘disillusioned’ about upward mobility in the urban milieu, and wish to adopt an indolent lifestyle and simply ‘rest’ in the post-industrial city. More specifically, in contrast to the desiring, striving, and self-enterprising migrant subjects questing for the ‘good life’ that many have emblematically observed in post-reform China, I take the case of the indolent youth as a new kind of migrant subject that disrupts and intervenes who has been conceptualized as ‘migration in China’ in anthropology for the last several decades. Theoretically, the project weaves together and makes interventions into three sets of literature in anthropology on migration and mobility in post-Mao China, temporal orientation in migration, and the possibility of life amidst the ruins of the Anthropocene. Ethnographically, my research will make valuable insights into China’s post-reform political-economy in its current stage under the Xi regime, the aftermaths of the passing of ‘mass utopias’ of the 20th century (Buck-Morss 2000), and the heterogeneity (Bear et al. 2015) of capitalism in a marginal locality.