par Richaud-Berthoumieu, Lisa
Référence Ethos, 50, 3, page (332-352)
Publication Publié, 2022-09-02
Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Rural-to-urban migrants in China have often been portrayed as striving subjects, living in “suspension” for the sake of the entrepreneurial futures they desire. Drawing on fieldwork conducted alongside young café workers in Shanghai, this article highlights more ambivalent engagements with the future obscured by emphases, within the social sciences, on the intentional, active aspects of subjectivity. Relatedly, it analyzes moments of purposelessness as more than emotional downsides of precarity, in a context where official discourses of the “Chinese Dream” coexist with vernacular celebrations of indolence. Purposelessness is a form of refusal, allowing young migrants to dwell in the present, if only momentarily. Yet, the very act of articulating unwillingness through playful idioms of indolence does not mean embracing disengagement as a norm. Rather, it nurtures a sense of ethical discomfort and self-responsibility. This malaise of indolence might prevent the translation of temporary disinvestment into a clear politics of refusal.