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Millions of children in China have been ‘left behind’ in the countryside while their parents work in distant places to support the social reproduction of their families. This presentation examines the role of study and schooling in this process. The analysis shows that by communicating with each other about study, and by focusing on the child’s educational future as the key purpose of their daily work, both children and parents carry out their obligations towards each other, while finding ways to cope with the emotional difficulties that protracted physical separation entails.

Rachel Murphy is University Lecturer in the Sociology of China, University of Oxford. Her two main research interests are in labour migration and urbanisation, and sex ratio imbalances.

Please note that non-University of Westminster attendees should register with Dr Derek Hird ([email protected]).