Rural Livelihoods in China
Political Economy in Transition
Edited by Heather Xiaoquan Zhang
Routledge – 2015 – 224 pages
Fundamental changes have taken place in China in ownership and control of, as well as access to livelihood assets in the context of transition and globalisation. This book examines the political economy of China's rural livelihoods transformations during the past three decades and in contemporary China. It probes the dynamics, be they local, national or global, which affect rural livelihoods, in particular livelihood security, mobility, diversity, and sustainability.
The book explores the transition to a market economy accompanied by extensive and rapid societal change, together with the sharp increase in geographical and social mobility going hand in hand with the unprecedented pace of industrialisation and urbanisation. This has brought about not only wealth and opportunities, but environmental damage and depletion of natural resources, undermining social resilience and generating new risks to national food security. Experimentation and utilisation of new science and technology involve new challenges to production, conservation and sustainability, engendering greater uncertainty, vulnerability and livelihood insecurity among Chinese farmers, in particular the poor. The fundamental changes in employment patterns, welfare regimes and social provisioning, combined with widening inequalities and evolving social stratification have contributed to a deepening social division and generating new forms of poverty and vulnerability, – all impinge upon and serve to reshape livelihoods, and social relations, organisations and practices.
This book stimulates research, policy and practice debates on the impact and implications of the emerging challenges for the rural population, their livelihoods, welfare and well-being. The book presents cutting-edge research based on empirical evidence and offers multi- and cross-disciplinary perspectives from development studies, economics, sociology, political science, and environmental sciences.
1. Introduction Part 1: Mobility and livelihoods 2. Migration, risk and livelihood struggles in China 3. Social Protection and Livelihoods: Providing Old-Age Social Insurance for Migrant Workers in China 4. Sustaining Livelihoods in Urban Villages – Health risks and health strategies among rural-to-urban migrants in China: The case of Guangzhou 5. The Political Economy of China’s Construction Industry: Resistance and Class Action by Migrant Workers Part 2: Sustainable livelihoods 6. Biotech Politics in an Emerging Economy: Is China a Developmental Risk Society? 7. Small Cotton Farmers, Livelihood Diversification and Policy Intervention in Southern Xinjiang, China 8. The Effects of Political Recentralisation on Rural Livelihoods in Anhui, China 9. From Taxing to Subsidising Farmers. The introduction of the "Four Subsidies" policy in China
Dr Heather Xiaoquan Zhang is Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies and Director of Postgraduate Studies, White Rose East Asia Centre, University of Leeds, UK.