Image of Photo of book cover of The Children of China's Great Migration

The children of China's great migration

On Wednesday 27 January 2021 the China Centre Seminar was a book talk delivered by Professor Rachel Murphy, Professor of Chinese Development and Society and fellow of St Antony's College, University of Oxford, President of the British Association of Chinese Studies and former junior research fellow at Jesus College.

Rachel Murphy’s lecture was based on her recently published book ‘The Children of China’s Great Migration’ (CUP, 2020). This unique study closely analyses the complex consequences of the ‘great migration’ within China, focussing on one particular group – the children who are left behind in the villages when their parents go to work in distant cities. In 2018 there were over 200 million rural migrants working away from their home villages and over 60 million rural children ‘left behind’.

Professor Murphy’s study is based on longitudinal studies conducted over many years in villages in two land-locked inland provinces. Through patient and complex fieldwork her study explores, in depth, the impact that migration has had upon the left-behind children’s lives, including study pressures, poverty, institutional discrimination and patrilineal family culture, as well as reconfigured gendered and inter-generational relationships.

Professor Murphy’s lecture stimulated a wide diversity of questions from the audience, which was drawn from a range of faculties and departments within the University.

Professor Rachel Murphy is Professor of Chinese Development and Society and a fellow of St Antony's College at the University of Oxford. She is course director for the MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies and the MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies at University of Oxford. She studied for her doctorate in the Department of Sociology at Cambridge, supported by a Trinity College external studentship and a Senior Rouse Ball scholarship. She then held a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Development Studies at Cambridge and from 2000-2003 was a junior research fellow at Jesus College Cambridge. Later, she taught in East Asian Studies and Social Policy at the University of Bristol before moving to Oxford in 2007. She has also held adjunct and visiting positions at Hong Kong University and the University of Western Australia.

Professor Murphy is President of the British Association of Chinese Studies (BACS).