This book examines citizenship as practiced in China today from a variety of angles. Citizenship in China—and elsewhere in the Global South—has often been perceived as either a distorted echo of the ‘real’ democratic version in Europe and North America, or an orientalized ‘other’ that defines what citizenship is not. By contrast, this book sees Chinese citizenship as an aspect of a connected modernity that is still unfolding. The book focuses on three key tensions: a state preference for sedentarism and governing citizens in place vs. growing mobility, sometimes facilitated by the state; a perception that state-building and development requires a strong state vs. ideas and practices of participatory citizenship; and submission of the individual to the ‘collective’ (state, community, village, family, etc.) vs. the rising salience of conceptions of self-development and self-making projects. Examining manifestations of these tensions can contribute to thinking about citizenship beyond China, including the role of the local in forming citizenship orders; how individualization works in the absence of liberal individualism; and how ‘social citizenship’ is increasingly becoming a reward to ‘good citizens’, rather than a mechanism for achieving citizen equality. This book was originally published as a Special Issue of the journal Citizenship Studies.
Introduction - Introduction: practicing citizenship in contemporary China 1. Legitimating exclusion and inclusion: ‘culture’, education and entitlement to local urban citizenship in Tianjin and Lanzhou 2. Differentiating citizenship in urban China: a case study of Dongguan city 3. Citizenship education as NGO intervention: turning migrant children in Shanghai into ‘new citizens’ 4. Practicing democratic citizenship in an authoritarian state: grassroots self-governance in urban China 5. Learning to be safe citizens: state-run boarding schools and the dynamics of Tibetan identity 6. Eating the rice bowl of youth: xiaojies’ everyday self-practices as doing citizenship from the margins