Legal Culture on Labour Disputes of Migrant Construction Workers in China

63 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2018

Date Written: January 22, 2018


In the past 30–40 years, migrant workers have become an increasingly significant force in promoting social and legal changes in China. As such, their legal culture is worthy of study for many reasons. This study focuses on migrant construction workers’ values, ideas, opinions, and attitudes with regard to their labour disputes, in the context of economic reform and globalization. Based on an analysis of primary data collected from fieldwork undertaken in Hubei Province, this study finds that migrant construction workers’ dispute resolution primarily remains conservative and informal, and that they are more aggressive and assertive than they were in the previous decades. The primary data illustrates that imported Western legal norms, such as contract, litigation, law, etc., have so far had limited influence on the popular legal culture of Chinese migrant workers, at least in the construction industry; while traditional local values in China, such as family ethic, morality, and harmony, still play a dominant role in their daily lives.

Keywords: labour disputes, legal culture, migrant workers, labour dispute resolution

Suggested Citation

Li, Juan, Legal Culture on Labour Disputes of Migrant Construction Workers in China (January 22, 2018). APDR Working Paper No. 18-2, Available at SSRN: or

Juan Li (Contact Author)

Hubei University ( email )

Youyi Avenue, Wuchang District No. 368
Wuhan, Hubei 430062

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