Boundaries and categories : rising inequality in post-socialist urban China


Boundaries and categories : rising inequality in post-socialist urban China

Wang Feng

(Studies in social inequality)

Stanford University Press, 2008

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Bibliography: p. 215-229

Includes index



In the last two decades of the twentieth century, following the worldwide collapse of communism, China ascended from being one of the most egalitarian societies in the world to one of the more unequal. Wang Feng documents the process of rising inequality in urban China during this period, and explores the underlying structural forces that define China's emerging social landscape. By treating social categories created under socialism, such as cities and work organizations, as explicit forces generating inequality, the author reveals a pattern that embodies both enlarging inequality between social categories and persistent equality within them. This pattern is traced to China's post-socialist political economy and to a long-existing cultural tradition that places a premium on harmony and group solidarity. China's great reversal from equality to inequality is a powerful example of how social categories, not individual traits and preferences, structure and maintain inequality.


CONTENTS Tables and Figures ix Preface xi INTRODUCTION CHAPTER ONE From Equality to Inequality 000 CHAPTER TWO Categorical Sources of Inequality 000 TRENDS AND PATTERNS CHAPTER THREE Prosperity and Inequality 000 CHAPTER FOUR Enlarging Inequality: Categories 000 EXPLANATIONS CHAPTER FIVE Maintaining Equality: Boundaries 000 CHAPTER SIX Varieties of Inequality 000 Appendix 000 Notes 000 References 000 Index 000

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