China Urban: Ethnographies of Contemporary Culture
Li Zhang, Tad Ballew, Susan Brownell, Robert Efird, Ellen Hertz, Lisa Hoffman, Sandra Hyde, Lida Junghans, Louisa Schein
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'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.
and attitudes as well. By accomplishing replication of one’s upline, one redrew one’s own cultural standing at the same time as one presumably became more deeply embedded in the network. ‘‘We begin with human conduct’’ (cong zuoren kaishi ), said distributors and trainers over and over again. And the industry was filled with stories about former drug addicts, prostitutes, and gangsters reforming themselves through training, like the one described above, and becoming productive members of the
company, the independent Taiwanese label Rock Records. These have proved to be moderately successful, selling a combined total of more than 1.5 million compact discs and cassettes as of May 1995.≤≠ Independent producers (such as Lao Ge, producer of the Yaogun Beijing series) seem to focus on the recording of compilation albums, which represent the first shot at recording for many bands and may serve as a stepping stone to the release of their own albums. However, a band’s immediate financial
obtain a middle-class lifestyle and gain educational opportunities, viewing foreign marriage as an avenue to the upward social mobility she had been unable to achieve independently. 120 China Urban Conclusion As stated earlier, the regional may have as much significance as the global or East-West dynamics in influencing identities, modernities, and major life decisions. In the realms of gender and marriage, malefemale relations in some Asian countries have shifted such that mainland Chinese
lower-class feeling. They sat there smoking their cigarettes and watching. Also, the clothes are very simple. The broker (xuetou) [literally ‘‘cave head’’] makes them by herself or buys cheap clothes. Not like the international designers whose clothes, I have heard, sell for up to several tens of thousands of yuan for one item. I didn’t like it, and I won’t do it again. Models who move from the periphery to Beijing may soon find that they need to search out other ways of making money. Agencies
salespersons and are usually staunch users of the latest over the counter (otc) drugs from Europe or the United States. Patients were no longer addressed as such by the drug industry and were referred to instead as clients and consumers. The new forms of health care and body regimens emphasized consumption, commodification, and above all the individualized body. Remapping Health Care and Meanings of Place On the eve of the Cul- tural Revolution, in a 1965 ‘‘Directive on Public Health,’’ Mao