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Rethinking Migrant Children Schools in China: Activism, Collective Identity, and Guanxi

This study seeks to document both the collective experiences and individual struggles of people who have mobilized around schools for migrant children in urban China. It addresses the following questions: (1) In what ways do migrant children schools provide space for parents and teachers to connect and mobilize for collective action? (2) How might the stories of migrant parents and teachers provide insights into the nuances of collective identity transformation? This article argues that community efforts surrounding the education of migrant children should not be downplayed and their significance should not be underestimated. It further offers insights into the nature of collective action in Chinese society for a deeper understanding of the politics of community mobilization, by examining what has traditionally been recognized as guanxi, or personal connections based on shared conditions among individuals or groups.