Tuesday, June 4, 2019

China Social Classes

China Social ClassesThe social course of study organise of China has a long history, ranging from the feudalistic beau monde of imperial dates to the industrialising and urbanising nightspot of today. The traditional Chinese social structure was distinct in many ways from the Western societies. Not besides has the Peoples Republic by far the largest world rulight-emitting diode by a single government, and has lacked an institutional church or otherwise powerful religious elite, it has in any case always had a unique and highly developed lineage system operating alongside a interchangeised bureaucratic political structure. The former disparities mother led Whyte et al (1977) to reason out that elbow roomrn processes of social change would proceed differently from some(prenominal) the West and other developing economies.The main aim of this act is to describe and account for the changes in Chinas social course of acti cardinals since 1949. It is important, however, to f irstly define this term so that a clear distinction of the social stems within the Chinese society sewer be drawn. It will become apparent, that non further nurse the changes for the various word formes been vast, but also that the Maoist government had been hugely occupied with stratifying their large fare as a means to abolish the crystallise structure to ultimately rag an egalitarian society. The principal line of reasoning of this paper is that these conflicting events contribute created the greatest divide amongst Chinese society, i.e. between the unsophisticated and the urban nation, whose consequences are still omnipresent today more than than than thirty years after Maos death.Class, at its core, is an economic concept it is the position of individuals in the market that determines their class position. And it is how one is situated in the marketplace that directly affects ones life chances. (Hurst, 2007) This was theorized by Weber in his three-component th eory of stratification which includes wealth, prestige and power on the basis of unequal access to material resources. (Weber, 1964).One of the most prominent Chinese sociologists and author of Xiangtu Zhonguo, Fei Xiaotong, argues that Chinese society consists of a meticulous ranking of people, who are classified according to distinct categories of social kinds. While western societies are made up of an organisational mode of association (tuantigeju), Chinese society is created by applying logic of chaxugeju, i.e. an egocentric system of social networks linking people together in multiple ways through object lesson demands on each person in a specific context. As such, Fei argues, China should non be viewed as a class- base but a net-work based system. This nonion is a harsh contrast to the bolshy interpretation and to the use of class-analysis that Mao and others utilise in an attempt to change Chinese society and to retrieve the peasantry, rather than as a way to understan d it. Maos idea was to use Marxism to break through the old relational bonds of society, which he labelled feudalistic, and to create sweet categories for rebuilding the social order. Much of the difficulties in understanding the Chinese concept of class stems from the tumult within the society it is intended to analyse. As Kraus (1981) nones first revolution, therefore rapid industrialisation have com barracked a broad range of radical social changes within a single generation. And most of all, changing Chinese approaches to the class system of the PRC are themselves elements in the social conflict which they prescribe, illuminate and obscure (ibid). The Party had a great interest in class analysis, which was purely strategic, never academic. Maos 1926 essay the Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society opens with the question Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? (Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, 1967). In order to reach one day the desired egalitarian society that Marx had proposed for the future the party had to specify the social order of the present time and of each individual citizen. That way, likely support could be identified and mobilised, the enemies isolated and the intermediate classes be persuaded to join sides with the revolutionaries. In an attempt to identify the people who should receive benefits and those who should lose them, the Party applied a complex system of over sixty class designations which ranged from categories that were clearly bad such as capitalists and landlords, through to intermediate designations of petty bourgeoisie and spirit peasant, to the workers and poor peasants in whose name the revolution had been made.1 The unfamiliarity of the ordinary people and many cadres with the Marxist notion of class categories led Mao to demand the press to publish the categories in impudentspapers so that all persons could understand the significance of their new class designations. Since the revolution was based in rural area s, the semi-feudal score of class designations was more elaborate than others. Kraus (1981) suggests that the differentiation of rural classes was complex both because of the wide-ranging relationships which they encompassed and because of the Partys experience with them. It is for this reason that the designation of strata within classes was particularly rich, including e.g. hired boorish labourer, poor peasant, sum peasant, rich peasant etc., while the varieties of landlords are even more impressive and contain a certain connotation, such as enlightened landlord, bankrupt, tyrannical, re doingary, hidden or overseas Chinese landlords.Although the Party worked systematically in applying the theories of Karl Marx in designating the different classes, and although Marxs theory of class has been subject to considerable controversy among academics and practicing revolutionaries, it is certain that Marx never understood class to be what twentieth-century western social science calls stratification. Unlike the latter, which is essentially a static concept, class is embedded in history, is dynamic and is centred upon the question of change. Dahrendorf (?) adds that, for Marx the theory of class was not a theory of a cross section of society arrested in time but a tool for the explanation of changes in total societies.Social Change under MaoDuring empirical times prestige was generated from genteelness, abstention from manual labour, wealth expended on the arts and education, as well(p) as a large family with many sons and an extensive personal network. In summary, there was no sharp divide between the elite and masses, and social mobility was realizable and common.Chinese society since the second decade of the twentieth century, has been the subject of a revolution intended to change it in funda psychogenic ways.As the model shows, Chinese society directly has a peasant class, a working class (which includes urban assert workers and urban collective workers as well as urban non-state workers and peasant workers), a capitalist class (ab turn out 15 million), a cadre class ( virtually 40 million and a quasi-cadre class (about 27 million).According to Li Yi the basic pattern of Chinese society was established by 1960, and all changes since then, including the economic domesticises in the 1980s have only been modifications and adjustments to the pattern. Li describes this pattern as cellular, i.e. most people belong to one large, all-embracing unit such as a factory, government office of village.The main diversifyation of the society was carried out by the party during the 1950s in a series of major campaigns. Society was organised vertical, i.e. each individual and social group was put into a hierarchically organised system as opposed to belonging to social institutions that were organised horizontally by their members. On the macro-level one could ensure the pervasive system of the cerntralised buraucracy (xitong) which itself was or ganised according to the branch (tiao) principle. The micro-level was represented by work-units (danwei), state-enterprises and rural collectives, which encompassed each individuals live comprehensively. As White (1993) notes, this system of verticality has led to social encapsulation , which means that individuals and groups were encloistered within their units and separated from other units at the same level.Cadres after 1950sAfter 1949, the Communist Party cadres became the new upper class in China, with the revolutionaries ruling the country. Their status allowed them access to materials and options that werent fairly distributed or otherwise reachable. Especially housing, which was in great demand particularly in the larger cities, was slow accessible for cadres who were protected from the intense competition for the scarce living space.CountrysideWhen the communists came to power in the 1950s, the social hierarchy changed fundametally. The communist party held peasants and th ose people in admiration who had joined the communist revolution. In an attempt to reduce rural inequalities, resources were confiscated from the wealthy, and since wealth consisted primarily of clownish land, the landlord families were the target of harsh punishment campaigns. Many of the latter as well as educated elites lost their land and other properties and many were executed in retribution for the exploitation of tenant farmers. From 1951 one, the initial land reform redistributed the confiscated land equally and foremostly to those families who didnt own any for them to farm privately. In 1953, however, a series of reformes were implemented in which the government began taking back this land, designating it as community property. Families were required to work larger plots of land collectively, in groups of twenty to forty households (bookrags.com, 2008) and the harvest was split between the government and the collective. At the same time, local anesthetic governments too k over commerce, shops, markets and other forms of private trade and re put them by supply and marketing cooperatives and the commercial bureaus of the local governments. Thus, instead of using the farmed produce for themselves and instead of selling of the excessiveness on local markets, individuals were paid for their efforts in points by the newly established supply cooperatives, which then periodically traded the grain for money. On the whole, the size of the unit was increase and the berth of private ownership as well as inherited land was decreased. By the early 1960s, an estimated 90 million family farms had been replaced by about 74,000 communes. Maos general vision was to capitalise on the sheer number of peasants and effecitvely produce a surplus harvest that would help industralisation. This was known as the Great Leap forward, which is now widely regarded as a failure since it had resulted in the death of more than twenty million peasants.Urban life after 1950At the s ame time as the land reforms were implemented in rural areas, large industries and in fact virtually all privately owned business were nationalised in the cities and wile enterprises and guilds were reorganised into large-scale cooperatives which became the branches of the local governments. Just as farmers were put into communes, state workers were placed in large work units called danweis. In an effort to ensure skillful employment, market competition in these firms was eliminated. People leaving school were assigned jobs bureaucratically, and once matched a job, employees could not quit voluntarily. But they could not be pink-slipped either, and consequently had a job guaranteed in the same company for life with their children inheriting their position. In fact, there did not exists such a word as unemploment in the Chinese language, according to the idea that there exist no unemployment in socialist countries, only individuals waiting for work (Imamura, 2003). Mobility withi n the danwei mostly only consisted of gaining administrative promotions. Since most of the alter primordial routes to social mobility were dummy upd off, formal education continued to be the primary avenue of upward mobility. But since the urban education reform grew at a rate much faster than in rural areas, more and more workers were high school graduates. The slowing of state industries and the increase number of qualified middle class candidates contributed to the fact that it became increasingly difficult to obtain a position as a state worker. Hence, urban youths not selected for further eduaction and those looking for work were often sent to rural areas to work in agriculture. This flow has been increased by more intensive mobilisation and a new law was passed that demanded secondary school graduates to work in agriculture for at least to years before becoming eligible for further schooling. In this mode, a total of 12 million urban youths were moved to the countryside betwe en 1968 and 1975 (Whyte et al, 1977). These large transfers of urban people to rural areas were made possible by the state monopoly over employment and urban housing, by the hukou registration and rationing, and by the impressive political network that had alrady been established in all neighbourhoods. On the whole, one can say that this rural settlement has been accomplished by social pressure rather than by incentives to move. It is debatable whether this massive programm of population transfers was intended primarily to subjugate having large numbers of unemployed people living in cities parasitically (Bernstein, 1977), or whether this was meant to be part of a more positive effort to close the rural-urban gap by supplying villages with well-educated and more scientifically sophisticated personnel.Urban inequalities were further reduced through salary compression in firms. Differences in the salary paid for high-skill, high-prestige occupations such as doctors and other professi onals, and blue-collar work such as unskilled factory employees was decreased dramatically. Efforts were also maid to denigrate the social importance of the former and to increase the prestige of the latter.Ever concerned about economic inequalities, the government also appropriated wealth and abolished labout markets in urban areas. in camera owned housing was seized and subdivided into much smaller living spaces. Effectively, families could rent apartments but never purchase them, which abolished a key element in wealth inequalities because properties could not be perpetuated from generation to generation any longer.Communist overall position?It is readily distinguishable that communism has brought about far-reaching changes in China with the rural population having to adjust to the shifting ideological currents. Traditionally, the average citizen, and especially the more than eighty percent rural population, had little or nothing to do with the central of local government. Most peasants lives were centred on their home village or township, while the family was the main unit of economic production and social activity. The Maoist revolution, however, injected the Communist party into both sphere of rural and urban life and every institution of society. Thus, for the average Chinese citizen, whether rural or urban, Communism has brought about an almost intrusive role of governmental element into the daily life and embedded itself in the operations of all significant facets of the economy and society. The formerly local, small-scale and fragmented power structure was replaced by a national and well-integrated bureaucratic system. The unpredictable consequences of market forces were replaced by administrative allocation and changing economic polices enforced by the government.Rural-Urban-DivideMarx did, moreover, make out the elimination of the distinction between city and countryside as one of the major goals of the future Communist society. In the 1950s, ho wever, and ironically enough in light of Marxist pretensions the Party drove a wedge between rural and urban areas that was novel in Chinese history. Solinger (1999) explains that its chief purpose was to lock onto the land a effectiveness underclass, ready to be exploited to fulfill the new states cherished project of industrialisation. The party used administrative orders and resource controls to isolate the urban population, not just geographically but socially as well. Although Marx had predicted that only capitalist states would do so, the party hoped to be to be able to draw upon the peasantry as an industrial reserve army.The Hukou-SystemBy the 1960s the Chinese government had implemented their policy of household registration which was different from anything that had previously existed both in China and in the rest of the socialist world. The aim of the hukou system was to avoid over-urbanisation, to make distribution of state services through the work units and communes e aster and to better prepare the population for a possible invastion by the Sovjet Union. It eliminated geographical mobility entirely since it fixed people permanently on the basis of their birth place or their husbands residence (Cheng and Selden, the City) and thus made it illegal to migrate from the countryside into cities.Accordingly, all persons were required to register their place of residence officially, with records maintained by the public security office of the higher agricultural cooperative in the countryside and in the neighborhood in cities. From then on, residence status became an ascribed, inherited one, which determined an individuals entire livelihood and welfare based on the location of the registration. Since rations of grain, cloth and other needed articles were tied to ones hukou, individuals living in urban areas without permission had to live off friends, relatives or the black market.Although a class system in the usual sense was abolished, a new set of cat egories, if not precisely a new class system supplanted the dismantled class hierarchy of the past. There were 6 different levels of ranks, in descending order peasants, non-peasants, city and town residents, urbanities, those in large cities, and those in cities directly administered by the central government.Just after liberation, peasant households did not fell lower rank (diren yideng) and urban ones did not feel higher Later, a great difference in interest came from the differences in where one lived A ranking structure was gradually established with the peasant household at the lowest level. (Ging, Zhongguo xianxing). Therefore, one can conclude that the hukou system did actually set up a new class distinctions between the rural and urban populace. This understanding of class draws upon Honigs work on the ethnicity of native place in China, in which she offers the rich insight that native-place identity, and thus the urban-versus-rural-identity can well serve as a metaphor for class (Honig, Creating Chinese Ethnicity).The boundaries placed around the rural population as a whole rendered the peasantry as a separate, inferior class or status group in equation to urban residents. Because the generic peasant was not legally prohibited from migrating, when the Hukou was destroyed in (?), migration took on a totally state-determined and class-based dimension. As Kraus rightly states, the CCP first set boundaries around peasants, marking them off as a separate, ascribed status group almost a pariah class and then barring them from entering urban areas. Or if they did enter, it was never as citizens, but as subjects, who were not supported with the rationed food or access to welfare services. When peasants and semi-peasants entered the city, the often felt comparatively deprived by the tightly locked city walls. Whereas everyone was poor in the country side, differences in wealth were readily obvious after entering the city.Impact of economic Reform on Chine se SocietyOn the eve of reform, the structure of Chinese civil society was similar to a typical less-developed country of the triad world, despite Maos efforts to make certain industrial and technological advancements, which were most notable in the nuclear armaments sector. As Chinese social statistical data (Zhongguo shehui tongji ziliao) states, in 1978 eightytwo percent of the population were rural, 71% of the countrys labour force worked in agriculture or related activites, 93.3% worked in manual labour as opposed to mental ones and the private sector was negligible so that the main destinction was between state and collective sectors. The vast majority of the people, i.e. 76% worked in rural collectives, and only 5.1% in urban collectives. 18.6 % of the people worked for state enterprises. White (1993) concludes, that this institutional devide reinforced the rural-urban distintion because levels of income and conditions of work were generally superior in state firms. Since th e rise of other classes such as self-employed or private entrepreneurs was prohibited, Chinas social structure on the eve of reform was relatively homogenous. According to White, the official structure only contained two classes (workers and peasants) and one stratum (intelligentsia). In an attempt to further homogenise the members of each social group, uniform conditions of work were imposed upon them and the emergence of internal differences limited.The economic reforms, on the whole, have affected the specific social classes in different ways and have led to changes in the existing groups and have even led to the rise of new ones. This has created a new political environment which may affect the fundamental credibility of the communist regime and may influence the policy process in the future. The main impact of the reforms on society can be described as its shift away from the state and its ancillary agencies (ibid) towards individuals, households, firms and groups. The change i n the relationship between the state and society has brought about an uneven redistribution of economic power for the latter and this dispersion of greater social power has opened up the potential for a new social sphrere with greater social autonomy from the state. One can possible observe the shoots of an incipient civil society which also brings about crucial implications for Chinas long-term political future.These shifts were part of a broader process of rapid social differentiation. Chinese social structure has become more complex both in terms of structure and attitudes because the existing classes have itself become more internally complex due to diversification in the different economic sectors, in the forms of ownership and the levels of income.Some of the new classes and strata that have emerged are The nuveau-riche peasant, who have made money quickly in recent years through specialised agricultural production or diversification into the local industries, trade and servic es. (see Song article) Private entrepreneurs in the cities, who have accumulated small fortunes through personal initiatives, specialised skills or good guanxi-networks A growing number of entrepreneurial managers in state-owned enterprises who are well attuned to the spreading logic of market competition.Moreover, Chinese society has become more fluid and dynamic again and there has been a rapid increase in horizontal mobility within the countryside, between urban and rural areas and between regions. endpointThe political apparatus used to destroy the old inequalities has itself given rise to a new set of social distinctions. Political power has been employed to transform Chinese society but it seems that the Party changed society faster than it has been able to modify its comprehension of a dynamic social structure. As Wallerstein concludes, classes do not have some permanent reality. Rather, they are formed, they consolidate themselves, they disintegrate or disaggregate, and are reformed. It is a process of constant movement, and the greatest barrier to understanding their action is reification. In the capitalist society movement between classes is a possibility. Hence the use of the term The American Dream to show the ability of people to near to a higher class through hard work and ingenuity. Class composition is forever changing, to the point where there may be a exclusively new set of families. (Schumpeter, 165)Furthermore, Chinas leaders wanted to change some aspects that were found in the traditional society such as the content of education and rural tenure, but they left other aspects, e.g. the family structure, largely untouched.In the villages the army offered the only reasonable alternative to a lifetime spent in the fields, and in fact, demobilised soldiers staffed much of the local administrative structure in rural areas.Systematic attempt by the regime to contain society within a limited number of categories.1 see handout about social classes ReferencesHurst, Charles E. (2007). Social Inequality Forms, Causes, and Consequences Sixth Edition. Allyn and Bacon Boston, MA.Weber, Max. (1964). The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. edited by Talcott Parsons. New York, NY The kick PressSelected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Beijing Foreign Language Press, 1967, 113(Wallerstein, I. (1975) Class-Formation in the Capitalist realism-Economy, political relation and Society, Volume 5(3) p. 369)White, G. (1993), Riding the Tiger The Politics of Economic Reform in Post-Mao China. London Macmillan.http//www.bookrags.com/research/social-stratificationchina-ema-05/ as at 3rd. April 2008.Imamura, H. (2003) Unemployment Problems and Unemployment Insurance in China Far Eastern Studies Vol.2 (March), pp.45-67.Whyte, M.K., Vogel, E.F., and Parish, W.L. (1977) Social Structure of World Regions Mainland China Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 3, pp. 179-207.Bernstein, T. (1977) The Transfer of Urban Youth to the Countryside Revolutionary Cha nge in China. New Haven, Conn Yale University Press.Zhongguo shehui tongji ziliao (ZGSHTJZL China Social Statistical information

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