Negotiating Rural Land Ownership in Southwest China: State, Village, Family
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302pp. August 2016
Negotiating Rural Land Ownership in Southwest China: State, Village, Family
Author: Wu, Yi;
Negotiating Rural Land Ownership in Southwest China offers the first comprehensive analysis of how China’s current system of land ownership has evolved over the past six decades. Based on extended fieldwork in Yunnan Province, the author explores how the three major rural actors—local governments, village communities, and rural households—have contested and negotiated land rights at the grassroots level, thereby transforming the structure of rural land ownership in the People’s Republic of China.

12 b&w illustrations


Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute Series
"This is a study from the ground up. Its focus is not just on state policies, or property laws and systems, or 'socialism' and 'capitalist reforms,' but rather on longstanding community (the natural village) and familial organizations and traditions that also shaped change, in ways that will surprise many readers." —Philip C. C. Huang, University of California, Los Angeles

"Yi Wu’s pioneering research on contested property relations draws on more than a decade of innovative fieldwork in villages and courts in rural Southwest China. Her framing concept of 'bounded collectivism,' emerging from the study of land disputes, draws attention to powerful continuities that never ceased to define rural life through the storm of land revolution, collectivization and Cultural Revolution to the contemporary era of market-driven family farming. Where many studies have focused on the role of the Party in reshaping rural society, Wu highlights the continued salience of cultural norms rooted in rural settlements and families in shaping significant social outcomes." —Mark Selden, Cornell University

"No issue in China’s countryside is more vital or more controversial than land rights. This readable and illuminating book based on extensive grassroots research reveals the economic predicaments faced by rural families, why conflicts erupt between villages, and the very different interests of villagers, local governments, and the central state. Few books about rural China provide as good a grasp of the situation today as this admirable study." —Jonathan Unger, The Australian National University

Author: Wu, Yi;
Yi Wu is assistant professor of anthropology at Clemson University. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from Columbia University.



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