Doing fieldwork inside the PRC is an eye-opening but sometimes also deeply frustrating experience. In this volume scholars from around the world reflect on their own fieldwork practice to give practical advice and discuss more general theoretical points. The contributors come from a wide range of disciplines such as political science, anthropology, economics, media studies, history, cultural geography, and sinology. The book also contains an extensive bibliography. Contributors: Bu Wei, Bjorn Gustafsson, Mette Halskov Hansen, Baogang He, Maria Heimer, Bjorn Kjellgren, Li Shi, Kevin J. O Brien, Dorothy J. Solinger, Maria Svensson, Elin Saether, Mette Thuno, Stig Thogersen, Emily T. Yeh. "
"This is not yet another step-by-step guide to research methods. Rather, Pole and Hillyard draw the reader into fieldwork as a form of living and lived research. They take key threads of research practices and processes and weave them into a holistic approach to fieldwork. Doing Fieldwork is a must read for new researchers planning a journey into the immersion of 'being there' that is field work." - Professor Garry Marvin, University of Roehampton Fieldwork is central to Sociology, but guides to it often treat the real questions invisibly or over-load the reader with micro-details. This refreshing, authoritative volume, written by two experienced, highly respected fieldworkers, provides a one-stop, engaging guide. The book: Clearly explains fieldwork methods Shows how to locate a field and map it Covers common problem areas and ethical considerations Provides a ready reckoner of time management issues Helps with analysis of findings. Doing Fieldwork is an invaluable teaching and research resource. It should be in every student’s backpack and part of every researcher’s tool kit. Professor Chris Pole is Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Brighton. His long-standing research interests are in social research methodology, especially Ethnography and in the Sociology of Education and Childhood. Dr Sam Hillyard is a Reader in Sociology at Durham University. Her research interests are in qualitative research methods, interactionist social theory and rural studies.
Longlisted for the 2009 ICAS Book Award Mountainous Liangshan Prefecture, on the southern border of Sichuan Province, is one of China's most remote regions. Although Liangshan's majority ethnic group, the Nuosu (now classified by the Chinese government as part of the Yi ethnic group), practiced a subsistence economy and were, by Chinese standards, extremely poor, their traditional society was stratified into endogamous castes, the most powerful of which owned slaves. With the incorporation of Liangshan into China's new socialist society in the mid-twentieth century, the Nuosu were required to abolish slavery and what the Chinese government considered to be superstitious religious practices. When Han Chinese moved into the area, competing with Nuosu for limited resources and introducing new cultural and economic challenges, some Nuosu took advantage of China's new economic policies in the 1980s to begin private businesses. In Doing Business in Rural China, Thomas Heberer tells the stories of individual entrepreneurs and presents a wealth of economic data gleaned from extensive fieldwork in Liangshan. He documents and analyzes the phenomenal growth during the last two decades of Nuosu-run businesses, comparing these with Han-run businesses and asking how ethnicity affects the new market-oriented economic structure and how economics in turn affects Nuosu culture and society. He finds that Nuosu entrepreneurs have effected significant change in local economic structures and social institutions and have financed major social and economic development projects. This economic development has prompted Nuosu entrepreneurs to establish business, political, and social relationships beyond the traditional social confines of the clan, while also fostering awareness and celebration of ethnicity.
Doing Fieldwork in Japan taps the expertise of North American and European specialists on the practicalities of conducting long-term research in the social sciences and cultural studies. In lively first-person accounts, they discuss their successes and failures doing fieldwork across rural and urban Japan in a wide range of settings: among religious pilgrims and adolescent consumers; on factory assembly lines and in high schools and wholesale seafood markets; with bureaucrats in charge of defense, foreign aid, and social welfare policy; inside radical political movements; among adherents of New Religions; inside a prosecutor's office and the JET Program for foreign English teachers; with journalists in the NHK newsroom; while researching race, ethnicity, and migration; and amidst fans and consumers of contemporary popular culture. Contributors: David M. Arase, Theodore C. Bestor, Victoria Lyon Bestor, Mary C. Brinton, John Creighton Campbell, Samuel Coleman, Suzanne Culter, Andrew Gordon, Helen Hardacre, Joy Hendry, David T. Johnson, Ellis S. Krauss, David L. McConnell, Ian Reader, Glenda S. Roberts, Joshua Hotaka Roth, Robert J. Smith, Sheila A. Smith, Patricia G. Steinhoff, Merry Isaacs White, Christine R. Yano.
Everyday life in contemporary rural China is characterized by an increased sense of moral challenge and uncertainty. Ordinary people often find themselves caught between the moral frameworks of capitalism, Maoism and the Chinese tradition. This ethnographic study of the village of Zhongba (in Hubei Province, central China) is an attempt to grasp the ethical reflexivity of everyday life in rural China. Drawing on descriptions of village life, interspersed with targeted theoretical analyses, the author examines how ordinary people construct their own senses of their lives and their futures in everyday activities: building houses, working, celebrating marriages and funerals, gambling and dealing with local government. The villagers confront moral uncertainty; they creatively harmonize public discourse and local practice; and sometimes they resolve incoherence and unease through the use of irony. In so doing, they perform everyday ethics and re-create transient moral communities at a time of massive social dislocation.
Choosing to do fieldwork overseas, particularly in the Global South, is a challenge in itself. The researcher faces logistical complications, health and safety issues, cultural differences, language barriers, and much more. But permeating the entire fieldwork experience are a range of intermediating ethical issues. While many researchers seek to follow institutional and disciplinary guidelines on ethical research practice, the reality is that each situation is unique and the individual researcher must negotiate their own path through a variety of ethical challenges and dilemmas. This book was created to share such experiences, to serve not as a manual for ethical practice but rather as a place for reflection and mutual learning. Since ethical issues face the researcher at every turn and cannot be compartmentalized into one part of the research process, this book puts them at the very center of the discussion and uses them as the lens with which to view different stages of fieldwork. The book covers four thematic areas: ethical challenges in the field; ethical dimensions of researcher identity; ethical issues relating to research methods; and ethical dilemmas of engagement with a variety of actors. This volume also provides fresh insights by drawing on the experiences of research students rather than those of established academics. The contributors describe research conducted for their master’s degrees and doctorates, offering honest and self-critical reflections on how they negotiated ethical challenges and dilemmas. The chapters cover fieldwork carried out in countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America on a broad sweep of development-related topics. This book should have wide appeal to undergraduates, postgraduates, and early-career researchers working under the broad umbrella of development studies. Although focused on fieldwork in the Global South, the discussions and reflections are relevant to field research in many other countries and contexts.
This book will help readers better understand the ethical and cultural assumptions that both American and Chinese business cultures bring to business relationships in China. It analyzes the relationships developed between the two cultures, areas where they conflict, and how these conflicts are (or are not) resolved. These relationships are investigated in three stages. The author: describes and interprets American business experience in China describes and interprets Chinese business experience in China, including interaction with Americans compares these two business cultures as they are experienced in China to investigate the relationships between them, centering the cultural analysis on ethical issues. Feldman's thorough research gets to the crux of how American and Chinese executives perceive the ethical and cultural aspects of doing business. The result is a book that will prove helpful to all those looking to expertly navigate Chinese-American business relationships.
Fieldwork in South Asia is a valuable attempt to listen and learn from the memories and significant moments of fieldwork done by anthropologists, sociologists, and even historians from South Asia. The essays lead towards a deeper understanding of concerns of fieldwork located in various field sites across South Asia without assuming or applying fixed normative rules for the whole region. In the process, the volume allows the reader to have an option to locate or relocate ethnographic or other forms of texts in the context of growing methodological contours and dilemmas in the social science. Above all, this is a book about relationships—multi-layered relationships among people encountered in the field, the ethnographic relationship itself, with all its personal raw edges, and relationship with the land and even non-human realms.
Breaking new ground in the study of Chinese urban society, this book applies critical discourse analysis to ethnographic data gathered in Anshan, a third-tier city and market in northeast China. The book confronts the – still widespread – notion that Chinese consumers are not "real" individuals, and in doing so represents an ambitious attempt to give a new twist to the structure versus agency debates in social theory. To this end, Michael B. Griffiths shows how claims to virtues such as authenticity, knowledge, civility, sociable character, moral proprietary and self-cultivation emerge from and give shape to social interaction. Data material for this path-breaking analysis is drawn from informants as diverse as consumerist youths, dissident intellectuals, enterprising farmers, retired Party cadres, the rural migrant staff of an inner-city restaurant, the urban families dependent on a machine-repair workshop, and a range of white-collar professionals. Consumers and Individuals in China: Standing out, fitting in, will appeal to sociologists, anthropologists, and cultural studies scholars, China Studies generalists, and professionals working at the intersection of culture and business in China. The vivid descriptions of living and doing fieldwork in China also mean that those travelling there will find the book stimulating and useful
This book-length ethnography of the revival of a popular religious temple in contemporary rural China examines the organizational and cultural logics that inform the staging of popular religious activities. It also explores the politics of the religious revival, detailing the relationships of village-level local activists and local state agents wtih temple associations and temple bosses. Shedding light on shifting state-society relationships in the reform era, this book is of interest to scholars and students in Asian Studies, the social sciences, and religious and ritual studies.
Putting China into the context of general anthropology offers novel insights into its history, culture and society. Studies in the anthropology of China need to look outwards, to other anthropological areas, while at the same time, anthropologists specialised elsewhere cannot afford to ignore contributions from China. This book introduces a number of key themes and in each case describes how the anthropology and ethnography of China relates to the surrounding theories and issues. The themes chosen include the anthropology of intimacy, of morality, of food and of feasting, as well as the anthropology of civilisation, modernity and the state. The Anthropology of China covers both long historical perspectives and ethnographies of the twenty-first century. For the first time, ethnographic perspectives on China are contextualised in comparison with general anthropological debates. Readers are invited to engage in and rethink China's place within the wider world, making it perfect for professional researchers and teachers of anthropology and Chinese history and society, and for advanced undergraduate and graduate study.
Red Stamps and Gold Stars brings together all the messiness, compromise, and ethical dilemmas that underscore fieldwork in upland socialist Asia and elsewhere in the Global South. These challenges can range from how to gain research access to politically sensitive border regions, to helping informants-turned-friends access appropriate health care, to reflections on how to best represent ethnic minority voices. The volume's contributors � accomplished geographers, anthropologists, and ethnohistorians � foreground the importance of questioning one's subjective gaze and of debating representations of "the other."
Explains how field research contributes value to political science by exploring scholars' experiences, detailing exemplary practices, and asserting key principles.
Before the modernist transformations of the twentieth century, China had one of the richest and most diverse religious cultures in the world. The radical anti-traditionalist policies of both the Republican and Communist regimes as well as other socio-historical factors posed formidable challenges to China’s religious traditions but, this book argues, these conditions also presented new opportunities for re-generation and innovation. It shows that economic reforms and the concurrent relaxation of religious policies have provided fertile ground for the revitalization of a wide array of religious practices, including divination, ancestor worship, temple festivals, spirit mediumism, churchgoing, funeral rites, exorcism, pilgrimages, sectarianism, sutra chanting, and the printing and distribution of morality books. Equally new forms of religious practices have emerged such as lay Buddhist preachers, "Maoist shamans", and a range of qigong sects/schools. Written by an international, interdisciplinary team of experts who have all conducted in-depth fieldwork research in China, this book provides a wide-ranging survey of contemporary religious practices in China. It examines the different processes and mechanisms of religious revivals and innovations, and, more broadly, relates the Chinese example of religious revitalization to larger issues of social and cultural continuity and change.
An ethnographic study of how ethnic minorities negotiate Chinese nationalism in post-Mao China.
Who exactly are China's new rich? This pioneering investigation introduces readers to the private lives—and the nightlives—of the powerful entrepreneurs and managers redefining success and status in the city of Chengdu. Over the course of more than three years, anthropologist John Osburg accompanied, and in some instances assisted, wealthy Chinese businessmen as they courted clients, partners, and government officials. Drawing on his immersive experiences, Osburg invites readers to join him as he journeys through the new, highly gendered entertainment sites for Chinese businessmen, including karaoke clubs, saunas, and massage parlors—places specifically designed to cater to the desires and enjoyment of elite men. Within these spaces, a masculinization of business is taking place. Osburg details the complex code of behavior that governs businessmen as they go about banqueting, drinking, gambling, bribing, exchanging gifts, and obtaining sexual services. These intricate social networks play a key role in generating business, performing social status, and reconfiguring gender roles. But many entrepreneurs feel trapped by their obligations and moral compromises in this evolving environment. Ultimately, Osburg examines their deep ambivalence about China's future and their own complicity in the major issues of post-Mao Chinese society—corruption, inequality, materialism, and loss of trust.
This book provides a significant new interpretation of China's rapid urbanization by analyzing its impact on the spread of Protestant Christianity in the People's Republic. Demonstrating how the transition from rural to urban churches has led to the creation of nationwide Christian networks, the author focuses on Linyi in Shandong Province. Using her unparalleled access as both an anthropologist and member of the congregation, she presents a much-needed insider's view of the development, organization, operation and transformation of the region's unregistered house churches. Whilst most studies are concerned with the opposition of church and state, this work, by contrast, shows that in Linyi there is no clear-cut distinction between the official TSPM church and house churches. Rather, it is the urbanization of religion that is worthy of note and detailed analysis, an approach which the author also employs in investigating the role played by Christianity in Beijing. What she uncovers is the impact of newly-acquired urban aspirations for material goods, success and status on the reshaping of local Christian beliefs, practices and rites of passage. In doing so, she creates a thought-provoking account of religious life in China that will appeal to social anthropologists, sociologists, theologians and scholars of China and its society.
As China has evolved into an industrial powerhouse over the past two decades, a new class of workers has developed: the dagongmei, or working girls. The dagongmei are women in their late teens and early twenties who move from rural areas to urban centers to work in factories. Because of state laws dictating that those born in the countryside cannot permanently leave their villages, and familial pressure for young women to marry by their late twenties, the dagongmei are transient labor. They undertake physically exhausting work in urban factories for an average of four or five years before returning home. The young women are not coerced to work in the factories; they know about the twelve-hour shifts and the hardships of industrial labor. Yet they are still eager to leave home. Made in China is a compelling look at the lives of these women, workers caught between the competing demands of global capitalism, the socialist state, and the patriarchal family. Pun Ngai conducted ethnographic work at an electronics factory in southern China’s Guangdong province, in the Shenzhen special economic zone where foreign-owned factories are proliferating. For eight months she slept in the employee dormitories and worked on the shop floor alongside the women whose lives she chronicles. Pun illuminates the workers’ perspectives and experiences, describing the lure of consumer desire and especially the minutiae of factory life. She looks at acts of resistance and transgression in the workplace, positing that the chronic pains—such as backaches and headaches—that many of the women experience are as indicative of resistance to oppressive working conditions as they are of defeat. Pun suggests that a silent social revolution is underway in China and that these young migrant workers are its agents.
Based on over 300 in-depth interviews with company executives, business association representatives, and government officials, this study identifies a wide range of national economic policies influenced by lobbying, including taxes, technical standards, and intellectual property rights. These findings have significant implications for how we think about Chinese politics and economics, as well as government-business relations in general.

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