The Everyday Lives of Policies and People
Edited by Norman Long, Jingzhong Ye and Yihuan Wang
Chapter 8: Rural Urbanization in Phoenix Village: Revisiting a Village in Guangdong Province
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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