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Chinese Urban Life under Reform

Chinese Urban Life under Reform
The Changing Social Contract


Part of Cambridge Modern China Series

William L. Parrish, Sarah Busse, James Farrer
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  • Date Published: April 2000
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521778657

£ 36.99

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About the Authors
  • This book provides a rare glimpse into how the Chinese urban population is experiencing the rapid shift from a planned to a market economy. The authors, using a dozen recent national social surveys, give voice to workers, civil servants, intellectuals, and women, who report their grievances and joys at home, at work, and in the public sphere. With fresh data on newly emerging patterns of economic inequality, labor-management relations, popular grievances, political participation, and gender inequality, the book comprehensively analyzes how the shifting social contract influences ordinary people's lives. With comparative data from the more market-based Taiwan, the book illuminates the directions in which China might be headed.

    • Comprehensive coverage of China's social transformation
    • Uses a unique set of twelve national social surveys of China's urban residents
    • Offers useful comparative material on Taiwan
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Bill Parish, one of the most experienced and wide-ranging sociologists studying China, here teams up with a talented political scientist, Wenfang Tang, to present a broad overview of varying patterns in Chinese urban life after reform. They find wide differences among people, depending upon education and opportunity for exposure to outside media. They find differences among work units as workers who were highly dependent upon their superiors are gradually exposed to an open market system. In Taiwan, which has long had a high proportion of small, independent companies, individual effort still makes more difference than on the mainland. A comprehensive, broad picture of changes in Chinese urban society.' Ezra Vogel, Asia Center, Harvard University

    'Tang and Parish carefully mine a mountain of survey evidence to evaluate a wide range of arguments and ideas about the social consequences of China's reforms, and more generally, the transition from a planned to a market economy. By placing China unwavering in comparative perspective, their readable narrative offers some surprising new perspectives on such matters as social inequality, bureaucratic privilege, and political participation - especially on the all-important question of how we should interpret the trends we observe. We will all refer to the findings and insights to this benchmark study for years to come.' Andrew G. Walder, Stanford University

    'What has happened to China's urban political economy in the post-Mao era? Tang and Parish use ideas drawn from a wide range of social theories and the urban experiences of other countries to confront multiple sets of Chinese surveys dealing with urban life. The result is an impressive and persuasive summary statement of the balance of change and continuity in Chinese cities.' Martin Whyte, George Washington University

    'A pioneering and encyclopedic study of China's urban social and political life during the economic reforms of the Demg era. The interesting findings on such topics as attitudes toward the reforms, political participation, and labor relations will inform all serious analyses in these areas. Makes effective use of hitherto underutilized survey data to test a variety of hypotheses.' Michel Oksenberg, Asia/Pacific Research Center, Stanford University

    '… this is an enjoyable stimulating and rewarding book, whether used as a textbook or as a book that specialists in Chinese Studies will refer to. I would have no hesitation in recommending the book to undergraduates and fellow researchers alike.' Journal of International Development

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2000
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521778657
    • length: 412 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.555kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus. 24 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introduction:
    1. Socialist and market social contracts
    2. The urban social world
    Part II. Group Interests:
    3. Life chances: education and jobs
    4. Economic rewards
    5. Popular reactions to the changing social contract
    6. Labor-management relations
    7. Civil servants and bureaucratic behavior
    8. Political participation and interest articulation
    Part III. Gender:
    9. Gender and work William L. Parish and Sarah Busse
    10. Gender and family William L. Parish and James Farrer
    Part IV. Comparisons and Conclusions:
    11. Taiwan and China compared
    12. Conclusion

  • Authors

    Wenfang Tang, University of Pittsburgh

    William L. Parish, University of Chicago


    William L. Parrish, Sarah Busse, James Farrer

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