Privatizing China

Privatizing China : Socialism from Afar

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Everyday life in China is increasingly shaped by a novel mix of neoliberal and socialist elements, of individual choices and state objectives. This combination of self-determination and socialism from afar has incited profound changes in the ways individuals think and act in different spheres of society.

Covering a vast range of daily life-from homeowner organizations and the users of Internet cafes to self-directed professionals and informed consumers-the essays in Privatizing China create a compelling picture of the burgeoning awareness of self-governing within the postsocialist context. The introduction by Aihwa Ong and Li Zhang presents assemblage as a concept for studying China as a unique postsocialist society created through interactions with global forms.

The authors conduct their ethnographic fieldwork in a spectrum of domains-family, community, real estate, business, taxation, politics, labor, health, professions, religion, and consumption-that are infiltrated by new techniques of the self and yet also regulated by broader socialist norms. Privatizing China gives readers a grounded, fine-grained intimacy with the variety and complexity of everyday conduct in China's turbulent transformation.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 16mm | 417.3g
  • Ithaca, United States
  • English
  • 2 tables, 6 halftones
  • 0801473780
  • 9780801473784
  • 1,002,368

Table of contents

Introduction: Privatizing China: Powers of the Self, Socialism from Afar
by Aihwa Ong and Li Zhang


Emerging Class Practices

1. Private Homes, Distinct Lifestyles: Performing a New Middle Class
by Li Zhang

2. Property Rights and Homeowner Activism in New Neighborhoods
by Benjamin L. Read

Accumulating Land and Money

3. Socialist Land Masters: The Territorial Politics of Accumulation
by You-tien Hsing

4. Tax Tensions: Struggles over Income and Revenue
by Bei Li and Steven M. Sheffrin

Negotiating Neoliberal Values

5. "Reorganized Moralism": The Politics of Transnational Labor Codes
by Pun Ngai

6. Neoliberalism and Hmong/Miao Transnational Media Ventures
by Louisa Schein


Taking Care of One's Health

7. Consuming Medicine and Biotechnology in China
by Nancy N. Chen

8. Should I Quit?: Tobacco, Fraught Identity, and the Risks of Governmentality
by Matthew Kohrman

9.Wild Consumption: Relocating Responsibilities in the Time of SARS
by Mei Zhan

Managing the Professional Self

10. Post-Mao Professionalism: Self-enterprise and Patriotism
by Lisa M. Hoffman

11. Self-fashioning Shanghainese: Dancing across Spheres of Value
by Aihwa Ong

Search for the Self in New Publics

12. Living Buddhas, Netizens, and the Price of Religious Freedom
by Dan Smyer Yu

13. Privatizing Control: Internet Cafes in China
by Zhou Yongming

Afterword: Thinking Outside the Leninist Corporate Box
by Ralph A. Litzinger

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Review quote

"Privatizing China is an outstanding contribution to the literature on the extraordinary changes taking place in China today. Its authors analyze fresh evidence through new and compelling frameworks that capture the often contradictory but always fascinating 'assemblages' that constitute Chinese social, economic, cultural, and political life. All of the essays adopt a mode of presentation and argumentation that moves back and forth between theoretical commentary and ethnographic description; all are clearly written, highly accessible, moving, and evocative in their storytelling." -- Susan Greenhalgh, University of California, Irvine
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About Li Zhang

Li Zhang is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Strangers in the City. Aihwa Ong is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of several books, including Neoliberalism as Exception, Buddha Is Hiding, and Flexible Citizenship.
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Rating details

7 ratings
4.29 out of 5 stars
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3 14% (1)
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