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Transition of Female Retailers’ Identities from Socialist to Post-socialist China

Sun, June 26, 1:00 to 2:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 121


This paper attempts to explore the transition of female retailers’ identities from socialist to post-socialist China by drawing on the theory of intersectionality. Contrasting the female retailers’ labor process at state-owned store A in socialist period and that at private store B of post-socialist period, this paper argues that female retailers own different identity orders in two periods. Firstly, all the resources were controlled and allocated by the central government, and the power of state penetrated the labor process of service sector in socialist period. In this economic system, female retailers were required to sacrifice their private right for the development of national economic as the female citizen. “Serving people (wei renmin fu wu)” was their most important obligation at that time, and the identity of female citizens played the dominated role in their life. However, the social contract between the state and the female retailers has been damaged in the post-socialist period, and thus the female retailers’ identity of citizen has been shrinking. Moreover, the socialist gender solidarity based on sisterhood and gender equality has been destroyed by the capital and market. It has been replaced by the gender separation and division in post-socialist period. Additionally, class division between female retailers has emerged and plays more significant role in the identity order in the post-socialist China which it is overlooked by female retailers themselves.