Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2015 More than three decades of economic growth have led to significant social change in the People's Republic of China. This timely book examines the emerging structures of class and social stratification: how they are interpreted and managed by the Chinese Communist Party, and how they are understood and lived by people themselves. David Goodman details the emergence of a dominant class based on political power and wealth that has emerged from the institutions of the Party-state; a well-established middle class that is closely associated with the Party-state and a not-so-well-established entrepreneurial middle class; and several different subordinate classes in both the rural and urban areas. In doing so, he considers several critical issues: the extent to which the social basis of the Chinese political system has changed and the likely consequences; the impact of change on the old working class that was the socio-political mainstay of state socialism before the 1980s; the extent to which the migrant workers on whom much of the economic power of the PRC since the early 1980s has been based are becoming a new working class; and the consequences of China's growing middle class, especially for politics. The result is an invaluable guide for students and non-specialists interested in the contours of ongoing social change in China.
Die chinesische Regierung ist zu einem der wichtigsten Akteure in der internationalen Politik aufgestiegen. Ohne eine sorgfältige Analyse des politischen Systems ist ein fundiertes Verständnis des Aufstiegs der Volksrepublik China nicht möglich. Welchen Anteil haben politisches System und Staatstätigkeit an der wirtschaftlichen Transformation Chinas? Welche Konsequenzen haben wirtschaftliche Modernisierung und weltwirtschaftliche Integration für das politische System? Ist das politische System zur Anpassung an veränderte ökonomische, technologische, gesellschaftliche und internationale Bedingungen fähig? Welche Potenziale und Risiken werden die mittelfristige Entwicklung des politischen Systems prägen? Dieses Buch soll zu einem differenzierten Verständnis der Voraussetzungen, Potenziale und Risiken der politischen Entwicklung in China beitragen. Es basiert auf einer umfassenden Auswertung chinesischer Quellen und auf dem neuesten Stand der internationalen Chinaforschung.
During China’s “socio-economic transition period”, stretching from 1978 to the present day, the nation’s social structure underwent enormous changes. The economic restructuring from a centrally-planned economy to a market-oriented one, combined with the retreat of the state administrative sphere from the labour market, gradually transformed the mechanisms of resource allocation. This has given rise to enlarging gaps between different social groups, which have led to an escalation in tensions between the higher and the lower social strata. In addition, the situation of Chinese women has also changed, with those in contemporary China in a quite different position from their “pre-communist”, “traditional” counterparts. Over recent decades, more equalitarian policies have made a great deal of difference, not only to women’s self-identification, but also to their social milieu. However, the female employment rate has gradually declined since the economic reforms began, meaning this period has had a major impact on the social status and conditions of Chinese women. These social transformations and differences between the genders have provided an unusual opportunity for scholars and researchers who are interested in social change. As such, this book examines the social structure of contemporary China, exploring how resources are distributed among the different social strata, and how these strata have transformed with the economic reforms and development. In addition, it also investigates the current socio-economic circumstances of Chinese women, especially since many female workers were laid off (xiagang) by state owned enterprises (SOEs) and collectively owned enterprises (COEs) during the “industrial restructuring”. In confronting an ever more competitive market environment, has the situation of women degraded or progressed? Do all women face a similar situation, or are there discrepancies that exist amongst them? What are the factors contributing to these divisions? In discussing these questions, this book allows readers to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the current Chinese social structure, and how it has transformed, as well as its influence on gender differentiation.
Popular protests are on the rise in China. However, since protesters rely on existing channels of participation and on patronage by elite backers, the state has been able to stymie attempts to generalize resistance and no large scale political movements have significantly challenged party rule. Yet the Chinese state is not monolithic. Decentralization has increased the power of local authorities, creating space for policy innovations and opening up the political opportunity structure. Popular protest in China - particularly in urban realm- not only benefits from the political fragmentation of the state, but also from the political communications revolution. The question of how and to what extent the internet can be used for mobilizing popular resistance in China is hotly debated. The government, virtual social organizations, and individual netizens both cooperate and compete with each other on the web. New media both increases the scope of the mobilizers and the mobilized (thereby creating new social capital), and provides the government with new means of social control (thereby limiting the political impact of the growing social capital). This volume is the first of its kind to assess the ways new media influence the mobilization of popular resistance and its possible effects in China today.
What kind of role can the middle class play in potential democratization in such an undemocratic, late developing country as China? To answer this profound political as well as theoretical question, Jie Chen explores attitudinal and behavioral orientation of China's new middle class to democracy and democratization. Chen's work is based on a unique set of data collected from a probability-sample survey and in-depth interviews of residents in three major Chinese cities, Beijing, Chengdu and Xi'an--each of which represents a distinct level of economic development in urban China-in 2007 and 2008. The empirical findings derived from this data set confirm that (1) compared to other social classes, particularly lower classes, the new Chinese middle class-especially those employed in the state apparatus-tends to be more supportive of the current Party-state but less supportive of democratic values and institutions; (2) the new middle class's attitudes toward democracy may be accounted for by this class's close ideational and institutional ties with the state, and its perceived socioeconomic wellbeing, among other factors; (3) the lack of support for democracy among the middle class tends to cause this social class to act in favor of the current state but in opposition to democratic changes. The most important political implication is that while China's middle class is not likely to serve as the harbinger of democracy now, its current attitudes toward democracy may change in the future. Such a crucial shift in the middle class's orientation toward democracy can take place, especially when its dependence on the Party-state decreases and perception of its own social and economic statuses turns pessimistic. The key theoretical implication from the findings suggests that the attitudinal and behavioral orientations of the middle class-as a whole and as a part-toward democratic change in late developing countries are contingent upon its relationship with the incumbent state and its perceived social/economic wellbeing, and the middle class's support for democracy in these countries is far from inevitable.
In Edited byMen and Masculinities in Contemporary ChinaEdited by, Geng Song and Derek Hird offer an account of Chinese masculinities in media discourse and everyday life, covering masculinities on television, in lifestyle magazines, in cyberspace, at work, at leisure, and at home.
This collection provides an overview of China’s rural politics, bringing scholarship on agrarian politics from various social science disciplines together in one place. The twelve contributions, spanning history, anthropology, sociology, environmental studies, political science, and geography, address enduring questions in peasant studies, including the relationship between states and peasants, taxation, social movements, rural-urban linkages, land rights and struggles, gender relations, and environmental politics. Taking rural politics as the power-inflected processes and struggles that shape access and control over resources in the countryside, as well as the values, ideologies and discourses that shape those processes, the volume brings research on China into conversation with the traditions and concerns of peasant studies scholarship. It provides both an introduction to those unfamiliar with Chinese politics, as well as in-depth, new research for experts in the field. This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.
China’s commercial film industry can be used as a map to understand how class is interwoven into the imaginations that inform and influence social change in Chinese society. Film consumption is important in this process, particularly for young adult urbanites that are China’s primary commercial cinema patrons. This book investigates the web between the representation of class themes in Chinese film narratives, local audience reception to these films, and the socialisation of China’s contemporary class society. Bringing together textual analyses of narratives from five commercially exhibited films: Let the Bullets Fly (Jiang: 2010), Lost on Journey (Yip: 2011), Go Lala Go! (Xu: 2011), House Mania (Sun: 2011) and The Piano in the Factory (Zheng: 2011); and the reception of 179 Chinese audiences from varying class positions, it investigates the extent to which fictional narratives inform and reflect current class identities in present-day China. Through group discussions in Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Lanzhou and Taiyuan, the author searches for audiences beyond major cities that are typically the focus of film consumption studies in China. As such, the book reveals not only how deeply and widespread the socialisation of China’s class society has become in the imaginations of Chinese audiences, but also what appears to be a preference of both audiences and filmmakers for the continuation of China’s new class society. Revealing the extent to which cinema continues to play a key role in the socialisation of class structures in contemporary Chinese society, this book will be important for students and scholars of Chinese Studies, Film Studies, Communication Studies, as well as observers of China’s film industry.
China has created its own distinctive pathway to becoming one of the world's largest economies – and the country's economic and political development over the next decade will have profound implications for the rest of the world. Knowledge of contemporary China is therefore essential for anyone who seeks to understand politics, business and international affairs in the twenty-first century. Assuming no prior knowledge, this book presents an accessible and engaging introduction to all aspects of China. Following a scene-setting chapter on the making of modern-day China, the book moves on to examine the country's political and economic structures, its society and culture, and its changing place in the world. Looking to the future, the book also considers the demographic and political challenges which China now faces. Kerry Brown shows that there is a vibrant debate within the country about what China is, in what direction it might go and what sort of power it should become. The text is illustrated throughout with figures and tables, boxes focusing on key issues and an extensive guide to further reading and useful websites. This accessible and lively book is the ideal starting point for students and general readers who want to know more about this important country.
This powerful book brings to life the human dimension of the vast social and economic divides in urban China. Leading scholars explore the increasing rigidity of class and social boundaries and analyze of the process of polarization and its outcomes by focusing on two new “castes” in contemporary China—the extravagantly wealthy and the profoundly poor.
The concept of 'civil society' has often been used as a devise for differentiating China from other cultures. Though sometimes portrayed as a growing phenomenon, Chinese civil society is frequently said to be non-existent. Definitional deficiencies have, therefore, led to both a simplification and a narrow appreciation of societal developments in China. By examining various forms of activity, such as NGOs, residential movements, and alternative spaces, this book, however, reassesses the idea of Chinese civil society. Through questioning current methodological, theoretical and structural assumptions, it uses an empirical approach to criticize and expand upon existing understandings of civil society as it is applied in the field of Chinese Studies. Based upon ethnographic research undertaken among activists in both mainland China and Taiwan, it examines issues such as inequality, the mobilizing skills needed for civil society activities, and the technologies which exist to maintain the boundary between state and society. Offering an analysis of Chinese civil society in the context of modernization, social and economic liberalization, and international civil society promotion, this book will be useful to students and scholars of Chinese Studies and Taiwan Studies, as well as development studies and civil society studies.
This work investigates inequality and social exclusion in contemporary Chinese society, specifically in the context of urbanization, migration and crime. Economic reforms started in the late 1970s (post-Mao) fuelled a trend of urbanization and mass migration within China, largely from rural areas to more economically developed urban regions. With this migration, came new challenges in a rapidly changing society. Researchers have extensively studied the rural-to-urban human movement, social changes, inequality and its impact on individuals and society as a whole. This volume provides a new perspective on this issue. It forges a link between internal migration, inequality, social exclusion and crime in the context of China, through qualitative research into the impact of this phenomenon on individuals’ lives. Using a series of case studies drawn from interviews with inmates – men and women – in a large Chinese prison, it focuses on migrant offenders’ subjective experiences, and analyses issues from the rarely-heard perspectives of migrant lawbreakers themselves. The research demonstrates how factors – including: the hukou system, rural-urban, class and gender inequalities, prejudices against rural migrants, and other structural problems – often lead to migrant offending. The author argues that to mitigate the effects of criminalisation, the root causes of these problems should be examined, emphasizing radical reforms to the hukou policy, cultural change in urban society to welcome newcomers, positive programs to integrate migrant workers into urban societies and improve their opportunities, rather than inflicting harsher penalties or reducing migration. While the research is based in China, it has clear implications for other regions of the world, which are experiencing similar tensions related to national and international migration. This work will be of interest to researchers in criminology and criminal justice, particularly with an interest in Asia, as well as those in related fields such as sociology, law and social justice.
Go (Weiqi in Chinese) is one of the most popular games in East Asia, with a steadily increasing fan base around the world. Like chess, Go is a logic game but it is much older, with written records mentioning the game that date back to the 4th century BC. As Chinese politics have changed over the last two millennia, so too has the imagery of the game. In Imperial times it was seen as a tool to seek religious enlightenment and was one of the four noble arts that were a requisite to becoming a cultured gentleman. During the Cultural Revolution it was a stigmatized emblem of the lasting effects of feudalism. Today, it marks the reemergence of cultured gentlemen as an idealized model of manhood. Marc L. Moskowitz explores the fascinating history of the game, as well as providing a vivid snapshot of Chinese Go players today. Go Nation uses this game to come to a better understanding of Chinese masculinity, nationalism, and class, as the PRC reconfigures its history and traditions to meet the future.
China's success on economic growth and its exploration on political reform in the past few decades have attracted the attention from worldwide economic and political experts. This book studies China's transformation and experience from a sociological perspective, which broadens the research horizons and explores more complexity in contemporary China. This book examines China's social structural transformation, especially its implications on resource allocation and expounds on China's sociology academic history. In addition, it covers a broad range of issues including China's experience of reform and development, urbanization, social hierarchy change, social conflicts, social management, mass consumption, etc. Lastly, it investigates China's "urban village" as a byproduct of economic development and urbanization, which is rarely seen in other countries. These themes are key to understanding contemporary Chinese society, which makes this book a valuable reference for specialists on Chinese studies and those who are interested in contemporary China.
With respect to the developing and threshold economies, it is no longer the poor who are the only focus of media attention. Today, the new middle classes are about to take centre stage, too. With their lifestyles and attitudes, the new middle classes are considered to be both the products as well as the promoters of globalization. They are a highly heterogeneousgroup in socio-economicterms as well as in habits 1 and preferences, including their societal role as consumers and citizens. The ?rst wave of scholarly and political attention can be traced back to the mid-nineties. The focal point was surprise and unease about indubitable symptoms of consumerism which, until then had been seen as a characteristic of the richest western societies. However, since the nineties, consumerism has run rampant in - velopingcountriestoo.Thishasparticularlybeennotedwithrespecttotheemerging middle classes in South East Asia. The “will to consume seemed inexhaustible, and appetites insatiable. This rage to consume [...] was both celebrated and feared by political leadersand other social/moralgatekeepers,who beganto condemnthe p- cess as ‘Westernization’ and even ‘westoxi?cation”’ (Chua 2000: xii). Ever since, the debate about the lifestyles of the new middle classes and their role in society has gained momentum.
This book examines labor protest in authoritarian states through a study of the evolution of migrant labor protests in China over the past three decades. It explores the economic, political, and demographic changes that have influenced migrant labor protest activity, how migrant workers engage in protest today, and protest strategies they employ.
This book attempts to provide an overview of social and political changes in Chinese society since the global financial crisis. Rapid economic development has restructured the setup of society and empowered or weakened certain social players. The chapters in this book provide an updated account of a wide range of social changes, including the rise of the middle class and private entrepreneurs, the declining social status of the working class, as well as the resurgence of non-governmental organisations and the growing political mobilisation on the internet. The authors also examine the implications of those changes for state-society relations, governance, democratic prospects, and potentially for the stability of the current political regime.
This 1984 book deals with those social transformations which occurred in Chinese society since the revolution in 1949. During the 1950s the Chinese Communist Party introduced a rigid system of class labels (e.g. landlord, rich peasant, middle peasant, landless labourer) based on pre-revolutionary notions of exploitation and property ownership. The class label system was a source of much social discontent during the 1960s and mid-1970s; the official use of labels ceased by the time of this book's publication, but the effects of the system are still felt by millions of Chinese. The book will be of interest to a wide range of readers, not just those who specialise in Chinese social history. Contributors include two anthropologists, one historian, three political scientists, and three sociologists.
Through an empirical inquiry into three categories of offending women, Offending Women in Contemporary China: Gender and Pathways into Crime explores the socioeconomic conditions that facilitate womens' pathways into crime, and examines the interplay between gender, class, rapid social changes and female law-breaking in neoliberal China.
Rise of the Red Engineers explains the tumultuous origins of the class of technocratic officials who rule China today. In a fascinating account, author Joel Andreas chronicles how two mutually hostile groups—the poorly educated peasant revolutionaries who seized power in 1949 and China's old educated elite—coalesced to form a new dominant class. After dispossessing the country's propertied classes, Mao and the Communist Party took radical measures to eliminate class distinctions based on education, aggravating antagonisms between the new political and old cultural elites. Ultimately, however, Mao's attacks on both groups during the Cultural Revolution spurred inter-elite unity, paving the way—after his death—for the consolidation of a new class that combined their political and cultural resources. This story is told through a case study of Tsinghua University, which—as China's premier school of technology—was at the epicenter of these conflicts and became the party's preferred training ground for technocrats, including many of China's current leaders.

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