In Search of Paradise Middle-Class Living in a Chinese Metropolis

ISBN-10: 0801475627

ISBN-13: 9780801475627

Edition: 2010

Authors: Li Zhang
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Description: A new revolution in homeownership and living has been sweeping the booming cities of China. This time the main actors on the social stage are not peasants, migrants, or working-class proletariats but middle-class professionals and entrepreneurs in search of a private paradise in a society now dominated by consumerism. No longer seeking happiness and fulfillment through collective sacrifice and socialist ideals, they hope to find material comfort and social distinction in newly constructed gated communities. This quest for the good life is profoundly transforming the physical and social landscapes of urban China. Li Zhang, who is from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, turns a keen ethnographic eye on her hometown. She combines her analysis of larger political and social issues with fine-grained details about the profound spatial, cultural, and political effects of the shift in the way Chinese urban residents live their lives and think about themselves. In Search of Paradise is a deeply informed account of how the rise of private homeownership is reconfiguring urban space, class subjects, gender selfhood, and ways of life in the reform era. New, seemingly individualistic lifestyles mark a dramatic move away from yearning for a social utopia under Maoist socialism. Yet the privatization of property and urban living have engendered a simultaneous movement of public engagement among homeowners as they confront the encroaching power of the developers. This double movement of privatized living and public sphere activism, Zhang finds, is a distinctive feature of the cultural politics of the middle classes in contemporary China. Theoretically sophisticated and highly accessible, Zhang's account will appeal not only to those interested in China but also to anyone interested in spatial politics, middle-class culture, and postsocialist governing in a globalizing world.

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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 4/22/2010
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.012
Language: English

Li Zhangis a Research Fellow in the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK. She was awarded the European Studies in Asia (ESiA) Young Academic’s Research Fellowship by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) in 2009 and took the fellowship in the National Centre for Research on Europe at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and the European Union Centre in Singapore. She holds a PhD in International Communications from the University of Leeds.

Figures
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Farewell to Welfare Housing
Unlocking the Real Estate Machine
Emerging Landscapes of Living
Spatializing Class
Accumulation by Displacement
Recasting Self-Worth
Privatizing Community Governing and Its Limits
Epilogue
Notes
References
Index
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