More than three decades of economic growth have led to significant social change in the People s Republic of China. This timely book examines the emerging structures of class and social stratification: how they are interpreted and managed by the Chinese Communist Party, and how they are understood and lived by people themselves.
David Goodman details the emergence of a dominant class based on political power and wealth that has emerged from the institutions of the Party–state; a well–established middle class that is closely associated with the Party–state and a not–so–well–established entrepreneurial middle class; and several different subordinate classes in both the rural and urban areas. In doing so, he considers several critical issues: the extent to which the social basis of the Chinese political system has changed and the likely consequences; the impact of change on the old working class that was the socio–political mainstay of state socialism before the 1980s; the extent to which the migrant workers on whom much of the economic power of the PRC since the early 1980s has been based are becoming a new working class; and the consequences of China s growing middle class, especially for politics.
The result is an invaluable guide for students and non–specialists interested in the contours of ongoing social change in China.