Y.C. (Yi-Chi) Chen

  • PhD student
  • Southeast Asia


The Political and Cultural Fabrication of Labour: A Case Study of Dockworkers in Taiwan
Supervisor: Tak-Wing Ngo

This study challenges the conventional static theorization about East Asian labor as a docile and politically immobilized subject. Such theorization tends to slight the historical and cultural specificities of Asian labour and substitute it with an abstract category of subordinated labor. The present study aims to analyze labor fabrication as a dynamic process in which workers act as active agents in resisting and negotiating with the external political and economic forces. The research focuses on the case study of the dockworkers in Kaohsiung port of Taiwan.

The significance of the Kaohsiung dockworkers is eminent. As the most important seaport in southern Taiwan, Kaohsiung is indispensable in Taiwan export industry which in turn is the cornerstone of Taiwan's economic miracle. The effective management of the sea transport and the industrial relations at the Kaohsiung seaport is important to the national security and industrialization of Taiwan. The state takes great pains to prevent any industrial dispute that may paralyze the operation of the seaport (Winslow 1998). Labour acquiescence in this "effective" management of the Kaoshiung port is reflected in the fact that the city is the host to a number of strategically important private and public enterprises as well as 3 export-processing zones. The crucial linkages between labor relation and the bases of Taiwan’s industrial transformation require careful investigation.


Relevant training
Business Bachelor Degree, Department of Management Information System, Chung-Yuan Christian University in Taiwan. From 9.1991 – 6. 1995 

Master of Industrial Relations, Graduate Institute of Labour Studies, National Chengchi University in Taiwan. From 9. 1995.9 – 6. 1998

Professional experience
11. 1995 – 3. 1996
Campaign Activities’ Planner for Presidential Election of the Office for Candidate of Li-An Chen.

1. 1999 – 2. 2002
Researcher of Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee

4. 2000 – 8. 2000
Journalist at Public TV Service, Taiwan. (Focus on the labour issues.)

2. 2001 – 2. 2002
Lecturer of Department of Industrial Relations of Da-Yeh University in Taiwan (Taught the ‘Industrial Relations’,‘Trade Unions and Labour Movement,’ and ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’.)

2. 2001 – 7. 2003
Lecturer of Kaohsiung Community University (Taught the ‘Labour Law & Labour Policy’ , ‘Globalization & Labour’, ‘Industrialization & Labour Rights’.)

4. 2001–
Columnist of in Li-Pao Daily.

Other relevant activities
1998 –
Founder and Editor of Asia Pacific Labour Update (Published the bimonthly "Asia Pacific Labour Update" and organized panel discussion. From 1998.11 to l 2001, we have published ten issues focusing on the globalization and labour in Asia-Pacific Region. )

2001 –
Board member of Association of New Society for Taiwan (I. Organized and coordinated the preparation of the center of labour education in Kaohsiung from 10. 2000 to 7. 2001. 2. II. Join in the Project of ‘Oral History of Dockworkers’ in Kaohsiung of the "Exhibition of May Day 2000 — The Legend of Dockworkers in Kaohsiung.")

2001– 6. 2002
Deliver labour education for the trade unions. (Including petroleum workers’ union, medical workers’unions, teachers’ associations, social workers and migrant labor inspectors, etc. )


  • New Bondage and Old Resistance: Realities and Challenges of the Labour Movement in Taiwan (co-authored with Monina Wong). Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee Press. 2002 (In English).
  • "The Industrial Relations of Taiwanese Enterprises in Southern China." In Industrial Relations and Labour Policies of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. ed. and published by Contemporary Research Center of Hong Kong City University. 2000 (In Chinese).
  • "The preliminary Remarks of Unemployment Problems in Taiwan". In Problems of Down-Positions and Re-employment in mainland China. ed. by Law Department of Beijing University and Association of Social Protection of Hong Kong. 2000 (in Chinese).
  • Beyond the Imagination: the Critics of Local and International Political Economic Issues, Institute for Taiwan Industry and Labour Studies Press(Taiwan), 2004.(In Chinese)
  • Migrants, Collies and the Temporary Lodging: From the Budai Villager to Kaohsiung Citizenry (co-authored with Chong-Joe Wei & Pei-Yi Liao )(in Chinese), Press: Bureau of Labour Affairs in Kaohsiung (Taiwan), 2005.

Last Modified: 31-01-2013