Organizing Rural China - Rural China Organizing
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Organizing Rural China - Rural China Organizing

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During the early 1980s China embarked on what can be seen as one of the world's largest social experiments ever. Decollectivization meant much more than the reorganization of agricultural production into family based farming. It signaled significant changes to rural social relations, when privatization, marketization and increased geographical mobility started tearing apart the economic and social institutions that had structured collective village life under Mao. The focus of this book is on how rural society has been reorganized in the 21st century. The first chapters outline the basic organizational structure of rural China and can be used as an introduction to the topic in a classroom setting. They show how the state and its social scientists draw up plans to overcome the perceived lack of rural social organization, and discuss the often problem-ridden implementation of their ideas. The second section presents case studies of institutions that organize key aspects of rural life: Boarding schools where rural children learn to accept organizational hierarchies; lineage organizations carving out new roles for themselves; "dragonhead enterprises" expected to organize agricultural production and support rural development, and several others. The book is of theoretical interest because of its focus on the re-embedding, or reintegration, of individuals into new types of collectivities, which are less predetermined by tradition and habit and more a matter of, at least perceived, individual choice. Most chapters are based on extensive fieldwork and contain vivid examples from daily life, which will make the book attractive to anyone who wants to understand how Chinese villagers experience the extraordinary social changes they are going through.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 248 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 408.23g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739170090
  • 9780739170090

Review quote

The essays weave a fascinating landscape of contemporary rural society in China dominated no longer by homogenizing and centralizing policies but by an astonishing diversity of practices and temporalities. Long submerged temple communities, lineage structures, socialist ownership principles and cooperatives, urban initiatives, powerful agro-businesses and digital networks jostle and compete to offer new kinds of community and livelihood for the long-enduring peoples of this good earth. -- Prasenjit Duara, Raffles Professor of Humanities, National University of Singapore, and director of Asia Research Institute The modernization of China's vast and hugely important countryside has been a major concern for generations of the country's political leaders and intellectuals and the issue has received renewed emphasis during the decade of the Hu-Wen administration. Organizing Rural China is a timely collection of fascinating studies which offer unique insights into the processes shaping the modernization of rural China. The Chinese and Western authors assembled here examine a broad range of actors involved from the political, social and economic realms and analyze state propaganda as well as relevant intellectual discourses. This comprehensive volume should be read by anyone interested in rural China's development. -- Bjorn Alpermann, assistant professor of contemporary Chinese studies, University of Wurzburg This work is an in-depth and timely analysis of the development of organizations in rural China written by a wide range of well-established international experts. The book is a valuable textbook for students in development and Asian studies, and will be of great interest for scholars and professionals working on rural China. -- Peter Ho, University of Leidenshow more

About Ane Bislev

Stig Thogersen is professor of China studies at Aarhus University. He is the author of A County of Culture - Twentieth century China seen from the village schools of Zouping, Shandong (University of Michigan Press, 2002) and Doing Fieldwork in China (ed. with Maria Heimer, NIAS Press 2006). He has published several articles on social, political and cultural change in rural China in journals such as China Quarterly, China Journal, and Journal of Contemporary China. Besides rural organizations and rural reconstruction his main present research interest is in the life histories of Chinese overseas students. Ane Bislev is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Culture and Society at Aarhus University. She did her PhD on microcredit and social capital in Yunnan and Guizhou and is currently working on a project on the informal credit markets in rural China. She is the author of The Need for Capital: Social Capital and Microcredit in Southwest China (2010).show more

Table of contents

Introduction Chapter 1: Introduction, by Ane Bislev and Stig Thogersen Imagining Rural China: Policies, Discourses, Ideals Chapter 2: Continuity and Change in Rural China's Organization, by Jonathan Unger Chapter 3: Organizing Rural China: Political and Academic Discourses, by Stig Thogersen Chapter 4: Government Propaganda and the Organization of Rural China, by Christian Gobel Chapter 5: Stitching it All Back Up: The Role of Sent-Down Cadres in Rural Community Building?, by Unn Malfrid Rolandsen Chapter 6: Reconstructing Rural China from the Bottom: A Discussion of Some Recent Chinese Experiments, by Xu Yong and Ma Hua Chapter 7: Governing China's Failed Villages: Between a "Weak State" and a Fragmented Society, by Liu Yiqiang Organizing Rural China: Actors and Local Practices Chapter 8: Life in a Rural Boarding School: Learning to Organize and to Be Organized, by Mette Halskov Hansen Chapter 9: Organizing Rural Health Care, by Mikkel Bunkenborg Chapter 10: Lineages and the State: Re-inventing Lineages and Ancestor Ceremonies as Cultural Heritage, by Marina Svensson Chapter 11: Native Place in Cyberspace: The Civic Enagement of an Internet Community, by Pang Cuiming Chapter 12: Embedded Microcredit-Creating Village Cohesion on the Basis of Existing Social Networks, by Ane Bislev Chapter 13: A Value Chain Gone Awry: Implications of the "Tainted Milk Scandal" in 2008 for Political and Social Organization in Rural China, by Jorgen Delman and Yang Minghong Reflections Chapter 14: Modern/Rural China: State Institutions and Village Values, by Vivienne Shue Index About the Editorsshow more