Event Detail


Labour Migration in China: The Effects on the Families of the Children “Left Behind”

Prof Rachel Murphy, Professor of Chinese Development and Society at the University of Oxford
Thursday, 14 Sep 2017
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
Function Room, Ladies’ Recreation Club, 10 Old Peak Road, Mid-Levels
Registration method: Please register at the event
The Royal Geographical Society is pleased to welcome Professor Rachel Murphy to speak on “Labour Migration in China: The Effects on the Families of the Children “Left Behind”. In this lecture, Prof Murphy shows that millions of children in China have been ‘left behind’ in the countryside while their parents work in distant places to support their families. She draws on matched interviews with children and their parents and caregivers over a five-year period to examine the role of education in this process.
Prof Murphy shows that on a daily basis, the work of children in schools and the work of parents in the cities are intertwined. Specifically, by communicating with each other about study and by focussing on the children’s educational future as the purpose of their work, both children and parents enact their obligations towards each other, while finding ways to cope with the emotional difficulties that protracted separation entails. The talk additionally highlights noteworthy differences among these children in how they deal with both parental migration and study pressures. Prof Murphy shows that this is affected by who migrates, who provides care, economic circumstances, and their own gender, age and academic performance. Overall, the discussion demonstrates that children offer valuable and fresh insights into how migration and education drive agrarian change. Professor Rachel Murphy is the Head of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, Director of Contemporary Chinese Studies and Professor of Chinese Development and Society at the University of Oxford. She hails from Australia and studied at Murdoch University, Western Australia, before reading for her doctorate at the University of Cambridge. She subsequently held academic positions at Cambridge and Bristol in Development Studies, East Asian Studies and Social Policy. She serves on the British Academy China Selection Panel, and on the executive committee of the China Quarterly editorial board. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia Business School. Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for Members and HK$200 for guests and others.

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