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Between Informalisation and Formalisation – Migration, Urban Development and Transformation in the Pearl River Delta


  • Bettina Gransow


The recent economic transformation in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) has resulted in massive megaurban restructuring, which is accompanied by rural-to-urban mass migration. As can be seen from migration and urban development in the PRD, processes of informalisation can be observed not only in the field of migrants’ employment, but also in other fields of their livelihood such as housing, health care and education for migrant children. To better understand the complex interactions of informalisation and formalisation in relation to migration, the author develops a theoretical framework by drawing on the formality-informality span (Norbert Elias). It is argued that the expansion of informality is triggering processes of formalisation (such as new rules and regulations that are inclusive of the situation of migrants) which may offer opportunities to implement and sustain the innovative aspects of the informal developments.

Suggested Citation

  • Bettina Gransow, 2008. "Between Informalisation and Formalisation – Migration, Urban Development and Transformation in the Pearl River Delta," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 37(1), pages 67-100.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:chaktu:v:37:y:2008:i:1:p:67-100

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