Synopses & Reviews
This imaginative and incisive collection of pieces about life in contemporary China reveals, like a series of snapshots, a picture of the lives of ordinary people and the rules and rituals that govern their daily existence. Key themes surface: in particular, the emergence of a consumer culture driven by the market, and the way in which this intersects with the "floating population" of vagrants, prostitutes and liumang (hooligans). We see how, in turn, the official strategies of the state deal with this perceived social disorder and how the street responds. Underlying much of the discussion of contestation and transformation is the notion of human rights. Street life is shown to be a creative, dynamic, dissenting, deviant and often compliant aspect of the economic, political and cultural face of China. Articles, written by Chinese scholars and journalists, as well as reports, official documents and interviews, all engaging and interesting in themselves, range from discussions of the work unit system to architecture, murder rates, acupuncture and Mao fetishes. Some of the pieces are quirky: we learn about the Chinese version of "Monopoly," translated as Entrepreneur, the Chinese Ethnic Culture theme park and the increasing popularity of tatoos, for example. Readers are guided through the book by extensive commentary written by Michael Dutton. There will be no better introduction to the discourses of contemporary China, and few more entertaining, vivid and stimulating accounts of shifts in cultural life and politics.
"I have never come across a reader as imaginatively conceived and stylishly executed as Streetlife China. It offers a remarkably thoughtful, unusual, accessible, sophisticated and rich guide to contemporary China. Dutton shows us official strategies and discourses in their subaltern mirror, and this subtle theoretical move enables him to include materials that articulate and complicate contemporary discourses. One comes away with an incredibly full picture of China's cultural politics, and a vivid sense of the multiple and layered meanings of reform in China." Gyan Prakash, Princeton University
"...underscore the unique qualities of Chinese culture..." Foreign Affairs
"...a worthwhile book that uncovers new ground in today's China. Let's hope that the present work is just a beginning. Streetlife China is potentially useful for teachers of modern China (history, society, politics, economics and gender) who wish to give their students a different taste of the vast Chinese banquet." Education About Asia
An extraordinary collection of 'snapshots' of contemporary Chinese life in translation with commentary.
This volume contains a collection of 'snapshots' of contemporary Chinese life with commentary in translation.
This imaginative collection of pieces about life in contemporary China reveals a patchwork picture of the lives of ordinary people and the rules and rituals that govern their daily existence. There will be no better introduction to the discourses of contemporary China, and few more stimulating accounts of shifts in cultural life.
Table of Contents
Streetlife Subalterns; Part I. Rights, Traditions, Daily Life and Deviance: 1. Rights and traditions; 2. Daily life in the work unit; 3. Defining 'outsiders', labelling Liumang; Part II. The 'Strategies' of Government and 'Tactics' of the Subaltern: 4. Analysis; 5. Government strategies I; 6. Government strategies II; 7. Subaltern tactics and government response; Part III. Naming, Framing, Marking: 8. Naming; 9. Framing; 10. Marking; Part IV. The Architecture of Life: 11. City space; 12. Social relations and the architecture of life; 13. Out of the work unit; 14. Changing landscapes, changing mentalities; Part V. Stories of the Fetish: 15. Chairman Mao; Part VI. Market Trainings.