Privatizing China

Socialism from Afar

by Li Zhang, Aihwa Ong

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780801445965
  • 9781501702075

Everyday life in China is increasingly shaped by a novel mix of neoliberal and socialist elements, of individual choices and state objectives. This combination of self-determination and socialism from afar has incited profound changes in the ways individuals think and act in different spheres of society.

Covering a vast range of daily life—from homeowner organizations and the users of Internet cafes to self-directed professionals and informed consumers—the essays in Privatizing China create a compelling picture of the burgeoning awareness of self-governing within the postsocialist context. The introduction by Aihwa Ong and Li Zhang presents assemblage as a concept for studying China as a unique postsocialist society created through interactions with global forms.

The authors conduct their ethnographic fieldwork in a spectrum of domains—family, community, real estate, business, taxation, politics, labor, health, professions, religion, and consumption—that are infiltrated by new techniques of the self and yet also regulated by broader socialist norms. Privatizing China gives readers a grounded, fine-grained intimacy with the variety and complexity of everyday conduct in China's turbulent transformation.


  • Cornell University Press; July 2015
  • ISBN: 9781501702075
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: Privatizing China
  • Author: Li Zhang (ed.); Aihwa Ong (ed.)
  • Imprint: Cornell University Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780801445965
  • 9781501702075

About The Author

Li Zhang is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Strangers in the City. Aihwa Ong is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of several books, including Neoliberalism as Exception, Buddha Is Hiding, and Flexible Citizenship.