SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Bennett, Hannah (2024) Gender, Class, and Migration at Play: Training Affect in China’s Golf Courses. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

Text - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

Download (2MB) | Preview


By framing golf as a socially constituted leisure activity rather than focusing on the technicalities of the sport, this project acts as a lens through which to view a number of complex issues located at the forefront of the anthropology of China: issues such as gender, class, and labour. This thesis takes the example of caddies as a micro-exploration to enable macro-analysis. Though often seen as on the fringes of society, the golf industry has seen growth despite governmental moratoriums. This has caused golf in China to be in a period of ‘spring’: of growth, transformation, and adaptation. Indeed, as the golf industry has adapted, so too have caddie employment practices reacted to the unsteady position of golf in China and responded to recruitment issues caused by the one child policy and vocational education. The result has been a reluctant shift from an industry which only employs young women, to one which predominantly employs interns, and thus has been forced to employ an increasing number of men. Despite this, affective labour remains central to the role. This thesis argues that by expanding definitions of what it means to be a professional, affective labour emerges as a type of professionalism. It is something which is actively trained and is regulated in accordance with the company’s specifications. This thesis is based on a year of fieldwork, predominantly training to work as a caddie at Golden Valley, and two years of pre-field interviews, and time spent at multiple driving ranges.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Jakob Klein
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2024 13:29
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Other, Other

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item