Chinese Village Life Today
Building Families in an Age of Transition
- PUBLISHED: August 2021
- SUBJECT LISTING: Anthropology, Asian Studies / China
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 320 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 7 b&w illus., 2 maps, 5 charts, 9 tables
- ISBN: 9780295747408
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
China has undergone a remarkable process of urbanization, but a significant portion of its citizens still live in rural villages. To gain better access to jobs, health care, and consumer goods, villagers often travel or migrate to cities, and that cyclical transit and engagement with new technoscientific and medical practices is transforming village life. In this thoughtful ethnography, Gonçalo Santos paints a richly detailed portrait of one rural township in Guangdong Province, north of the industrialized Pearl River Delta region.
Unlike previous studies of rural-urban relations and migration in China, Chinese Village Life Today—based on Santos’s more than twenty years of field research—starts from a rural community’s point of view rather than the perspective of major urban centers. Santos considers the intimate choices of village families in the face of larger forces of modernization, showing how these negotiations shape the configuration of daily village life, from marriage, childbirth, and childcare to personal hygiene and public sanitation. Santos also outlines the advantages of a rural existence, including a degree of autonomy over family planning and community life that is rare in urban China. Filled with vivid anecdotes and keen observations, this book presents a fresh perspective on China’s urban-rural divide and a grounded theoretical approach to rural transformation.
Authors & Contributors
Gonçalo Santos is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Coimbra and coeditor of Transforming Patriarchy: Chinese Families in the Twenty-First Century.
[A]n excellent record of the effects of Chinse-style modernization on families and relationships in a representative rural area...Anyone interested in the modernization of rural areas, in China or elsewhere, should read this book.- Choice
[T]he book makes a distinct contribution to ongoing efforts in social science to respect the perspectives of marginal groups and to present the complexities of social structural transformation.- The China Journal
An important ethnography that will be well received by a broad audience of readers: anthropologists, sociologists, historians, demographers, and medical researchers.- James Watson, Harvard University
Santos’s ‘translocal’ focus provides an added dimension that is not currently available in other texts, and we also get the kind of ‘thick description’ that is the hallmark of the very best ethnography.- Ellen Oxfeld, author of Bitter and Sweet: Food, Meaning, and Modernity in Rural China