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Three Generations of Women under the Same Roof

Work, gender and social integration in a migrant quarter of Shanghai
Tania Angeloff
Translated by Elizabeth Guill
p. 64-73


Taking as a starting-point a qualitative survey carried out between June and November 2007 in an old migrant quarter that was in the process of being demolished, men and women aged between 17 and 82 were questioned in-depth on their life histories, with particular attention paid to their relationship to work.1 The aim of the research was initially to raise the issue of lines of segmentation and social and geographical – even ethnic – inequalities in relation to employment from a gender perspective. It emerges that the difference between men and women alone cannot explain inequalities in success and integration. A generational approach centred on the women interviewed enabled us to shed light on individual trajectories within a wider historical context, sometimes refuting certain preconceived ideas on such or such a period in history, which though bloody or violent overall, paradoxically had emancipating and integrating effects in terms of employment for certain migrant women.

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1  This article is the fruit of a group project carried out within the framework of an investigation into work and housing in Shanghai, financed by the CEFC and resulting in the publication of a report entitled Travail et logement à Shanghai: enquête sur la construction de la société urbaine dans la Chine contemporaine (Work and housing in Shanghai: An investigation into the construction of urban society in contemporary China), CEFC, April 2009. I would like to thank Gilles Guiheux and Tang Xiaojing for rereading the first draft of this article, and Jean-Jacques Zimermann for his remarks and criticisms of the final version.

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Bibliographical reference

Tania Angeloff, « Three Generations of Women under the Same Roof », China Perspectives, 2011/1 | 2011, 64-73.

Electronic reference

Tania Angeloff, « Three Generations of Women under the Same Roof », China Perspectives [Online], 2011/1 | 2011, Online since 30 March 2014, connection on 24 April 2018. URL :

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About the author

Tania Angeloff

Assistant Professor at Paris-Dauphine University, IRISSO.

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