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Between Informalisation and Formalisation – Migration, Urban Development and Transformation in the Pearl River Delta

Bettina Gransow

Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, 2008, vol. 37, issue 1, 67-100

Abstract: The recent economic transformation in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) has resulted in massive megaurban restructuring, which is accompanied by rural-to-urban mass migration. As can be seen from migration and urban development in the PRD, processes of informalisation can be observed not only in the field of migrants’ employment, but also in other fields of their livelihood such as housing, health care and education for migrant children. To better understand the complex interactions of informalisation and formalisation in relation to migration, the author develops a theoretical framework by drawing on the formality-informality span (Norbert Elias). It is argued that the expansion of informality is triggering processes of formalisation (such as new rules and regulations that are inclusive of the situation of migrants) which may offer opportunities to implement and sustain the innovative aspects of the informal developments.

Date: 2008
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