The Everyday Lives of Policies and People
Edited by Norman Long, Jingzhong Ye and Yihuan Wang
The idea of assembling a collection of papers dealing with both theoretical advances and empirical findings on rural development and policy intervention, and spotlighting China, evolved out of the many conversations and seminar discussions that arose among a group of Chinese and visiting scholars at the College of Humanities and Development Studies (COHD), China Agricultural University (CAU), Beijing, from 2005 onwards. The group was already well established and widely acknowledged for its research and practical work in the field of rural development and agricultural policy. Yet, despite this impressive record, which entailed a ‘reinvention’ of rural sociology and anthropology following the ‘opening up’ of China in the 1980s onwards, plus the implanting of many new contributions from western-based ‘development’ researchers and practitioners, the Beijing group remained convinced of the need for much more engagement with foreign scholars and institutions dedicated to the study of contemporary processes of rural transformation. Eventually this crystallized into the organizing of an international conference on ‘Policy Intervention and Rural Transformations: Comparative Issues’ held in Beijing in September 2007. The organizers were delighted by the response to their invitation to participate in this event from a distinguished set of foreign researchers – all high profile in regards to research on development and social change; and matched them with a roughly equal number of well-known Chinese scholars experienced in rural research. The conference itself sparked off many lively debates on questions of theory and practice, and provided an opportunity – especially for foreign participants – to learn more about the...