In China’s future social development, there is likely to be an interest in “society building” with interactions between top-down and bottom-up approaches, along with a deepened level of social reform and the construction of a harmonious or “symbiotic” society. This represents one of China’s social development models, and is reflected in the Communist Party of China (CPC) and state policy. The term “society building” was proposed by Chinese thinkers nearly one century ago, and has been used by Chinese sociologists to study Chinese society since the 1930s. In the 21st century, “society building” has been approached as an interdisciplinary concept by Chinese social scientists. The main concern of China for its future social development is to enhance its people’s wellbeing and encourage them to build Chinese society in innovative and creative ways.
This volume showcases the latest research of non-Chinese scholars relating to this indigenous concept and to China’s social development in the global context. It tackles the following topics: the assessment of the social impact of infrastructure projects; China’s reforms and its changing political system; whether or not the Singapore model is suitable for China to follow; soft power through education; and boundaries, cosmopolitanisms and spaces in Chinese and international cities. The book will be of interest to academics, professionals, practitioners, university students and the general public seeking a comprehensive understanding of China.
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“Modernity in China's histories over the last 150 years has been a complex, often painful process. This continues, and aspects of it are looked at in this clear, hybrid and scholarly book. […] This is a timely book, because the notion of a specific China Model was in danger of retreating into rhetoric. These essays show that there is much about the Chinese experience of its reform in the last thirty years that was borrowed, but also much that was due to indigenous innovation. Armed with the detailed frameworks and the information from the essays in this book, we can think about the Model much more profitably, and put into practice one of the great implication of the Reform process when it started in the late 1970s, to make practice the criterion of truth.”—Kerry Brown, Professor of Chinese Politics, Director of the China Studies Centre, University of Sydney, Australia“Xiangqun Chang has assembled an excellent team of contributors to discuss the idea of ‘society building’ in China. The term was coined by Sun Yat-Sen in 1917, but it could not be more contemporary – as China wrestles to reconcile the demands of population, resources, democracy and social welfare. This book gives us considerable insights into the alternative visions of social development now being discussed in China.” —Robin Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, University of Oxford, UK; author of Global Sociology “This book tackles one of the most important tasks for social science research in the 21st century, understanding the Great Transformation that is occurring in China. Inspired by the late Professor Lu Xueyi, Society Building probes the many models interpreting and guiding the process of change. I highly recommend the book.”—Gary Hamilton, Professor of International Studies and Sociology, University of Washington, USA “As China’s rapid economic progress fluctuates, with global repercussions, it is becomes imperative that we get a better understanding of the socio/political structures that underpin and interact with this advance. This collection of papers is a valuable addition to this discussion. Contributors explain the various social and economic ‘models’ that China has experimented with, putting them in both historical and comparative perspectives. Highly recommended reading.”—Christopher Howe, Professor emeritus of Department of Financial and Management Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK“Drawing on the expertise and insights of scholars from eight countries, this book illuminates the meaning of the ‘China model’ and the implications for China’s societal development and political system. The book tackles this significant issue from a variety of interesting angles. It is well worth reading, especially in light of China’s importance in the world.”—Jonathan Unger, Professor of Sociology, Australian National University; Founding Editor of The China Journal, Australian National University, Australia "Modernity in China's histories over the last 150 years has been a complex, often painful process. This continues, and aspects of it are looked at in this clear, hybrid and scholarly book. European experts think hard about the meaning of modernity on the specifics of Chinese society, its politics, its social composition and its landscape through
Dr Xiangqun Chang is Director of CCPN Global, the Editor of Journal of China in Comparative Perspective (JCCP), and the Chief Editor of Global China Press. She is a Research Associate at the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK, and is a Special-term Professor at the Centre for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Fudan University, China. Her publications include Guanxi or Li shang wanglai?: Reciprocity, Social Support Networks, and Social Creativity in a Chinese Village (2009; 2010).