Rural Politics in Contemporary China

Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 40, No. 6, 2013, 915-928

26 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2014

See all articles by Emily Yeh

Emily Yeh

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Geography

Kevin J. O'Brien

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science

Jingzhong Ye

China Agricultural University

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

We examine overarching themes in the contributions, including critiques of neo-liberalism, rural-urban linkages, the relevance of mixed methods and cross-disciplinary approaches, the need to engage social theory, and variation across space and time. At the same time, we provide an overview of rural Chinese politics and explain that the goal of the collection was to bring findings that have appeared in area studies or disciplinary outlets into conversation with peasant studies research. After discussing intellectual debates about the peasantry, everyday practices of governance, contentious politics, the mutual constitution of the rural and urban, and environmental politics, we conclude that work on the Chinese countryside needs ‘lumping’ (to discover unexpected similarities) and ‘splitting’ (to uncover patterns and forks in the road). Chinese rural politics is neither ‘turtles all the way down’ and baffling complexity, nor one master story that applies in all times and places. Instead we must continue to navigate the path between exoticizing China and treating its rural transformation as a tale many times told.

Keywords: China, rural politics, rural-urban linkages, neoliberalism, environment, methodology

JEL Classification: N55, O13, O18, O2, P26, P32, Q15, Q19, Q20, H10, H70, I30, N35, N50

Suggested Citation

Yeh, Emily and O'Brien, Kevin J. and Ye, Jingzhong, Rural Politics in Contemporary China (2013). Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 40, No. 6, 2013, 915-928, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2381179

Emily Yeh (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Geography ( email )

Campus Box 260
Boulder, CO 80309-0260
United States

Kevin J. O'Brien

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Jingzhong Ye

China Agricultural University ( email )

Beijing
China

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