Friday, January 6, 2006 - 8:00pm to Sunday, January 8, 2006 - 11:00am
Henry R. Luce Hall
34 Hillhouse AvenueNew Haven, CT 6511
Over the past 25 years China has moved decisively from a low growth, command economy, isolated from world trade and dominated by a coherent elite of party-state officials, to a high growth, market driven and globally connected economy with multiple pathways to wealth and influence. Simultaneously rates of absolute poverty have declined while income inequality has increased. In terms of social structure, therefore, China has moved from a “single ladder” of vertical stratification grounded in political power to a multi-dimensional reward system that is segmented both vertically and horizontally.
These rapid transformations of social structure and political-economy in China challenge common social science assumptions about the core processes of social stratification. Prevailing meta-explanations typically privilege dichotomized pairs of economic and social stratification regimes, highlighting the shift from an agrarian to an industrial society, or from a planned to a market system. What China has experienced, however, is not simply a transition from an agrarian to an industrial society, nor one from a socialist planned to a capitalist market economy. Rather what one sees in China since 1980 is rapid (almost simultaneous) transformation on all economic parameters and the persistence of a communist party political monopoly. Re-stratification in China therefore serves as a fertile empirical ground for scholars to revisit prevailing theories of social stratification and structuration rooted primarily in western, capitalist democracies. It provides an opportunity for us to compare channels of social mobility and forms of social inequality under different ideal-type economies or societies, and to question how social inequalities are created and maintained across all human societies.
The dual aims of this conference are to create an empirical baseline on China in the first years of the 21st century that will provide a foundation for subsequent comparative work, and to create greater intellectual synergy across geographically distinguished bodies of scholarship.
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This workshop is jointly funded by grants from Council of East Asian Studies at Yale University, the Center for Asian Studies at University of California-Irvine, the American Sociological Association, and the Ford Foundation.
China, Hong Kong, Taiwan