Reviews 441 Ping-Chun Hsiung. Living Rooms as Factories: Class, Gender, and the Satellite Factory System in Taiwan. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996. x, 182 pp. Hardcover $44.95, isbn 1-56639-390-6. Paperback $18.95, isbn 1-56639-389-2. Explaining Taiwan's "economic miracle" raises numerous variables and hypotheses. Ping-Chun Hsiung, an anthropologist of mainland background from Tai- wan, focuses on some of the darker aspects of this development. She argues that "numerous small-scale, family-centered, and export-oriented sub-contracting factories outside the export processing zones . . . have been at the core" of Taiwan's "economic miracle" (p. 3). She believes that these factories exploit married women through both "the patriarchal order as well as the operation of capitalism" (p. 101). To underpin her analysis, Hsiung conducted field research (and actually worked) in satellite factories during 1989-1990. Hsiung argues that her "effort to simultaneously explore class formation, gender inequality, and the interplay of class and gender structures" distinguishes her project from other recent studies (p. 20). This reviewer found, however, that the book's ethnographic material often undercuts the author's feminist and Marxist analyses and suggests alternative explanations. Hsiung begins the book with an attempt to place satellite factories at the "core" of Taiwan's economic development. She
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 30, 1997
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