Continuity and Change in Rural China's Organization

Jonathan Unger

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    What are the essential elements of rural China’s organization? Most of the following chapters reveal new forms of organization in the Chinese countryside, including lineage associations and NGOs. This chapter focuses on the core instruments of government power and how these have been organizationally shaped both in the past and present. The chapter’s argument is that even though China’s rural economy and society have changed dramatically in the past third of a century, the organizational framework of rural China’s governance has scarcely changed since the period of Mao Zedong’s rule. Thus, to understand how the countryside is officially organized today, it is necessary to comprehend how it was organized under Mao, and then to discern the ways in which the same organizational framework operates today in an altogether different economic context. Except where otherwise noted, the chapter relies upon the author’s interviews with Chinese respondents and visits to Chinese rural areas. Most of the interviews about the socialist period were conducted in Hong Kong during the 1970s with immigrants from rural China at a time when it was not possible for Western researchers to go into China to conduct research. The interviews about rural China in the post-Mao period were conducted during research periods in the Chinese countryside commencing in the 1980s and continuing sporadically into the 2000s.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOrganizing Rural China-Rural China Organizing
    EditorsAne Bislev and Stig Thogersen
    Place of PublicationPlymouth United Kingdom
    PublisherLexington Books
    ISBN (Print)9780739170090
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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