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The Making of a New Rural Order in South China

The Making of a New Rural Order in South China
Merchants, Markets, and Lineages, 1500–1700

Volume 2


  • Publication planned for: March 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from March 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107048515

£ 105.00

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About the Authors
  • This volume is written for anyone who has wondered about the growth of Chinese businesses and their relation to Chinese family and government institutions. Making full use of its partner volume's findings on village institutions in the southern prefecture of Huizhou, this volume explains how late imperial China's key regional group of merchants emerged from this prefecture's village lineages. It identifies the strategies they deployed to overcome the serious obstacles to their domination of major financial transactions and commodity markets throughout much of China from 1500 to 1700. At the same time it describes how the commercial success enjoyed by these 'house firms' undermined their lineages' social stability, making them vulnerable to competition from popular religious cults back home. In recounting how rural and urban institutions interacted through state and economic development, McDermott provides a powerful new framework for understanding late imperial China's distinctive trajectory to social and economic transformation.

    • Provides a holistic framework and analysis of Chinese society and its economy, both rural and urban
    • Shows how kinship affects business practice and organization
    • Analyses how Chinese merchants carved niches for their commercial activities within the Chinese government and relates this to the development of distinctive forms
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: March 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107048515
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 2 maps 13 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from March 2020
  • Table of Contents

    1. Ming markets and Huizhou merchants
    2. Ancestral halls and credit: building, investing, and lending
    3. The working world of Huizhou merchants, travel and trade, problems and resolutions
    4. Huizhou merchants and their financial institutions
    5. Huizhou merchants and commercial partnerships
    6. Huizhou house firms: the binds of kinship and commerce

  • Author

    Joseph P. McDermott, University of Cambridge
    Joseph P. McDermott is a Fellow of St John's College, University of Cambridge and has published and lectured widely on the social and economic history of pre-modern China. His recent books include The Making of a New Rural Order in South China, Volume 1 (Cambridge, 2013) and A Social History of the Chinese Book (2006).

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