Summer School - "Labour and Rights in an Era of Global Precarity: Views from China", 17–21 July 2017, Italy

Publish Date: Mar 17, 2017

Deadline: Mar 31, 2017

Labour and Rights in an Era of Global Precarity: Views from China

Made in China Summer School 2017 – Venice, 17–21 July

In the Made in China Yearbook 2016: Disturbances in Heaven - we have outlined the main developments that took place in the fields of labour and civil society in China over the past year. The situation is dire. Although the Chinese government has never been reluctant to repress dissent, in 2016 we have witnessed an authoritarian drift that only a few years ago would have been unthinkable. Not only have labour activists fallen victim to regular intimidation from the party-state, but new laws and regulations have also been passed in order to cut off labour and rights NGOs from any international sources of funding. This happened in concomitance with an economic slowdown that pushed local governments in China to freeze minimum wages and lower the rate of social security contributions shouldered by companies in order to prevent capital flight. Chinese workers have been restless, as they see their very livelihoods threatened by these new developments, but in absence of any meaningful representation they have been largely unable to resist these trends.

In such difficult times, it is more important than ever to take a closer look at the challenges that Chinese workers and citizens are facing today. At the same time, it is also important to give credit to those in positions of authority who are currently going to great lengths to address the grievances and call for justice of many ordinary Chinese citizens. Such understanding is a necessary precondition to build those bridges of international solidarity and mutual comprehension so important in the period of global turmoil that we all now face, as the entire world seems to be descending into provincialism, xenophobia, and worse.

These are the goals of the inaugural Made in China Summer School ‘Labour and Rights in an Era of Global Precarity: Views from China’, that will be held on the Island of San Servolo, Venice, from 17 to 21 July 2017. This event will bring together prominent scholars from all over the world for a series of presentations and discussions with students, trade unionists, and NGO activists. The Summer School will be structured in two parts. The first three days will consist of masterclasses given by prominent scholars on topics related to contemporary Chinese politics and society, including the latest developments in labour rights, political discourse, land, trade unions, and labour protests in China. The last two days will be structured as an interactive workshop in which the speakers will present and discuss specific case studies collected during their fieldwork. The first day of the workshop will be dedicated to presentations related to ‘precarity’ in the Chinese context, the second to presentations on various aspects of ‘Chinese labour in a global perspective’, with case studies from Cambodia, Mongolia, Vietnam, and other countries.


The summer school will be held at Venice International University on the ancient Island of San Servolo, ten minutes by boat from Saint Mark Square in central Venice. The island is an oasis in a unique urban setting, where students will be able to interact with the speakers in a peaceful park spread across twelve scenic acres with a panoramic view of Venice. San Servolo is composed of a large architectural complex and a lovely park. Its first settlement dates back to the 17th century, when a group of Benedictine monks took refuge on the narrow and marshy island. In 1647, the complex was given to a group of Benedictine, Dominican, and Franciscan nuns from the island of Candia (modern-day Crete). In contemporary times, the Province of Venezia has retained ownership of the island, and in the 1990s, architectural recovery programme was initiated to protect and promote its natural scenery and heritage.

Fees and Scholarships

The summer school will be provided entirely for free, but participants will have to pay for their own flights, food, and accommodation. Four scholarships of 500 euros each will be awarded to partially cover accommodation expenses on the Island of San Servolo. Only students currently enrolled in a formal academic programme are eligible to apply for the scholarships.

Food and Accommodation

Participants will have to pay for their own food and accommodation, but we are able to assist participants to arrange accommodation on the Island of San Servolo for the duration of the Summer School (ideally, check-in should be on 16 July and check-out on 22 July). The price will be 95 euros per night in single room or 150 euros per night in double room (if available). Upon confirmation, participants will be required to pay half the total sum as a non-refundable partial payment.

A buffet breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 10 am at the San Servolo Restaurant at a cost of 7 euros per person, with self-service lunch (12:30 to 2:30 pm) and dinner (7 to 9:30 pm) for 11 euros.


How to Apply

Up to 30 participants will be admitted to the Summer School. Applications can be submitted until 31 March through this online form. If you have further inquiries, please contact us at We will inform applicants whether or not they have been admitted by early April. Some applicants may be called for an interview before a final decision on their application is made.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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