Tracing China’s journey began from exploring rural revolution and reconstitutions of community in South China. Spanning decades of rural-urban divide, it finally uncovers China’s global reach and Hong Kong’s cross-border dynamics. Helen Siu traverses physical and cultural landscapes to examine political tumults transforming into everyday lives, and fathom the depths of human drama amid China’s frenetic momentum toward modernity. Highlighting complicity, Siu portrays how villagers, urbanites, cadres, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals—laden with historical baggage—venture forward. But have they victimized themselves in the process?
This essay collection, informed by critical social theories and shaped by careful scrutiny of fieldwork and archival texts, is woven by key historical/anthropological themes—culture, history, power, place-making, and identity formation. Siu stresses process and contingency and argues that culture and society are constructed through human actions with nuanced meanings, moral imagination, and contested interests. Challenging the notion that social/political changes are mere linear historical progressions, she traces layers of the past in present realities.