The Everyday Lives of Policies and People
Edited by Norman Long, Jingzhong Ye and Yihuan Wang
Norman Long CHINA IN CONTEXT The aim of this collection is twofold: first, it offers a critical overview of current theoretical and methodological perspectives and debates on contemporary processes of rural transformation and policy intervention, and, second, it explores empirically some of the specificities of China’s pathways to rural change and development. Over the past two or more decades much intellectual effort has been devoted to surmounting the orthodoxies of earlier modernization, dependency and poststructuralist paradigms, such that now we have reached a point where many researchers are inclined to adopt a more ‘actor-oriented’ and ‘post-development’ perspective. This approach accords a central role to showing how, despite the vicissitudes and constraints of globalization, market liberalization and state hegemonic control, the multiplicity of actors involved are still able to negotiate some critical space for themselves and in so doing shape the nature and outcomes of external interventions. Although the treatment of these issues may vary from chapter to chapter, several contributions highlight the variability of outcomes and the blending of contingent and often ambiguous factors. This is a central theme running throughout the volume. The second component of the book constitutes a series of welldocumented case studies dealing with the dynamics of specific rural scenarios. While most of these pertain to recent Chinese ethnographic research, some raise interesting comparative dimensions, for example, in respect of patterns of rural–urban migration and its impact on family and gender relations, or concerning the survival or ‘remaking’ of peasant livelihoods. It is at these...