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Rural Transformations and Development – China in Context

Rural Transformations and Development – China in Context

The Everyday Lives of Policies and People

Edited by Norman Long, Jingzhong Ye and Yihuan Wang

This unique book explores the varied perspectives on contemporary processes of rural transformation and policy intervention in China. The expert contributors combine a critical review of current theoretical viewpoints and global debates with a series of case studies that document the specificities of China’s pathways to change. Central issues focus on the dynamics of state–peasant encounters; the diversification of labour and livelihoods; out-migration and the blurring of rural and urban scenarios; the significance of issues of ‘value’ and ‘capital’ and their gender implications; land ownership and sustainable resource management; struggles between administrative cadres and local actors; and the dilemmas of ‘participatory’ development.

Chapter 8: Rural Urbanization in Phoenix Village: Revisiting a Village in Guangdong Province

Zhou Daming and Huang Xueliang

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian politics and policy, development studies, agricultural economics, asian development, development studies, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, geography, human geography, politics and public policy, asian politics


Zhou Daming with Huang Xueliang INTRODUCTION In the 1920s, the American sociologist, Harrison Kulp, arrived on the coast of southern China and conducted anthropological and sociological fieldwork there, resulting in the 1925 publication Country Life in South China. The book records in detail the economy, population, family, religious and educational conditions, as well as community organizations in Fenghuan (Phoenix Village). It is also one of the earliest academic works to focus on China’s Han people. Indeed, in Rong Guangqiong’s (1996) estimation Kulp’s research represents a milestone in the history of social anthropology in that it shifts the emphasis from the study of tribal societies to that of the peasantry, thus laying the groundwork for a series of detailed ethnographies of Han society and culture. Kulp’s case study methods and approach were adopted by many Chinese and western researchers, and his book inspired me in 1994 to make the first of many visits to Phoenix Village to study the transformations that had taken place since Kulp’s original work. Kulp believed that urbanization was a necessary road to development and that urban residence would follow technological development and the introduction of new perspectives. It is this theme, based on an analysis of work carried out in the village between 2003 and 2006 that I take up in this chapter. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON PHOENIX VILLAGE The 1920s were a time of transition. The Qing dynasty had collapsed, war lords were fighting each other and the Republic of China was founded. In terms of...

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