China Crossroads: Rural-Urban Migration and Agro-Technological Change in Post-Reform China

How do rural Chinese households deal with the conflicting pressures of migrating into cities to work as well as staying at home to preserve their fields? This is particularly challenging for rice farmers, because paddy fields have to be cultivated continuously to retain their soil quality and value. Join us for the China Crossroads lecture series with the University of Zurich, supported by Swissnex in China, to delve into the rural aspects of migration and explore the knowledge and agency of farmers.

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and written sources, this book talk describes farming households’ strategic solutions to this predicament. It shows how, in light of rural-urban migration and agro-technological change, they manage to sustain both migration and farming. It innovatively conceives rural households as part of a larger farming community of practice that spans both staying and migrating household members and their material world. Focusing on one exemplary resource – paddy fields – it argues that socio-technical resources are key factors in understanding migration flows and migrant-home relations. Overall, this talk provides rare insights into the rural side of migration and farmers’ knowledge and agency.


This event is hosted by China Crossroads with the support and collaboration of Swissnex in China and the University of Zurich.



China Crossroads hosts talks on all topics related to China, including business, foreign policy, and other areas as they relate to China, the idea being that China is both already a “crossroads” of the world and itself at a “crossroads” in terms of its future global influence. For more information, contact Frank Tsai at [email protected]