China Urban

Ethnographies of Contemporary Culture

China Urban

Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: 1 map Published: March 2001

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Asian Studies > East Asia, Sociology > Urban Studies

China Urban is an ethnographic account of China’s cities and the place that urban space holds in China’s imagination. In addition to investigating this nation’s rapidly changing urban landscape, its contributors emphasize the need to rethink the very meaning of the “urban” and the utility of urban-focused anthropological critiques during a period of unprecedented change on local, regional, national, and global levels.

Through close attention to everyday lives and narratives and with a particular focus on gender, market, and spatial practices, this collection stresses that, in the case of China, rural life and the impact of socialism must be considered in order to fully comprehend the urban. Individual essays note the impact of legal barriers to geographic mobility in China, the proliferation of different urban centers, the different distribution of resources among various regions, and the pervasive appeal of the urban, both in terms of living in cities and in acquiring products and conventions signaling urbanity. Others focus on the direct sales industry, the Chinese rock music market, the discursive production of femininity and motherhood in urban hospitals, and the transformations in access to healthcare.

China Urban will interest anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, and those studying urban planning, China, East Asia, and globalization.

Contributors. Tad Ballew, Susan Brownell, Nancy N. Chen, Constance D. Clark, Robert Efird, Suzanne Z. Gottschang, Ellen Hertz, Lisa Hoffman, Sandra Hyde, Lyn Jeffery, Lida Junghans, Louisa Schein, Li Zhang


China Urban brings together some of the best new ethnographic work on the changing dynamics of time, space, and place in 1990s China. These essays take the reader into a wide range of localities, but always with an eye turned toward larger national and global transformations. China Urban also speaks to a wide range of debates in contemporary social and political theory, and it offers an innovative approach to the study of the urban in postsocialist China and elswhere. This volume is long overdue.” — Ralph Litzinger, author of Other Chinas: The Yao and the Politics of National Belonging

“For readers interested in the intersections of space, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity, this book has a wealth of insights to ponder. And for those interested in the complexity, vibrancy, and challenges of today’s urban and urbanizing China, this book’s the ticket.” — Greg Guldin, author of What’s a Peasant to Do? Village Becoming Town in Southern China


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Price: $28.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Nancy N. Chen is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Constance D. Clark teaches Women Studies at San Francisco State University.

Suzanne Z. Gottschang is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Smith College.

Lyn Jeffery is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Editors' Acknowledgments


Part One. Xia Hai: The Ethnographies of Work and Leisure

Placing Practices: Transnational Network Marketing in Mainland China / Lyn Jeffery

Guiding College Graduates to Work: Social Constructions of Labor Markets in Dalian / Lisa Hoffman

Rock in a Hard Place: Music and the Market in Nineties Beijing / Robert Efird

Part Two. Gender, Bodies, and Consumer Culture

The Consuming Mother: Infant Feeding and the Feminine Body in Urban China / Suzanne Z. Gottschang

Foreign Marriage, “Tradition,” and the Politics of Border Crossings / Constance Clark

Making Dream Bodies in Beijing: Athletes, Fashion Models, and Urban Mystique in China / Susan Brownell

Sex Tourism Practices on the Periphery: Eroticizing Ethnicity and Pathologizing Sex on the Lancang / Sandra Teresa Hyde

Part Three. Negotiating Urban Spaces

Health, Wealth, and the Good Life / Nancy N. Chen

Railway Workers between Plan and Market / Lida Junghans

Contesting Crime, Order, and Migrant Spaces in Beijing / Li Zhang

Part Four. Expressions of the Urban

Urbanity, Cosmopolitanism, Consumption / Louisa Schein

Xiaxiang for the ‘90s: The Shanghai TV Rural Channel and Post-Mao Urbanity Amid Global Swirl / Tad Ballew

Face in the Crowd: The Cultural Construction of Anonymity in Urban China / Ellen Hertz



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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2640-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2634-2
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