1st Edition

Ritual and Economy in Metropolitan China A Global Social Science Approach

    226 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book focuses on Shenzhen, one of China’s most globalized metropolises, a leading centre of high-tech industries and, as a melting pot of migrants from all over China, a place of vibrant cultural creativity. While in the early stages of Shenzhen’s development this vibrant cultural creativity was associated with the resilience of traditional social structures in Shenzhen’s migrant ‘urban villages’, today these structures undergird dynamic entrepreneurship and urban self-organization throughout Shenzhen, and have gradually merged with the formal structures of urban governance and politics. This book examines these developments, showing how important traditional social structures and traditional Chinese culture have been for China’s economic modernization. The book goes on to draw out the implications of this for the future of Chinese culture and Chinese economic engagement in a globalized world.

    Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Ritual theory and the economy 1. The view from China: The unfortunate marginalization of ritual in modern aka ‘Western’ social science 2. Ritual and the production of culture 3. Ritual and networks: The theory of interaction ritual chains 4. Ritual economy and ritual entrepreneurship in China 5. Consequences for research strategy and method Chapter 3: Ritual spaces of Shenzhen 1. What is a ritual space? 2. Ritual spaces in Shenzhen 3. Villages as places of doing ritual spaces 4. The role of ritual spaces in urban development 5. Conclusion Chapter 4: Lineages and Cooperative Shareholding Companies 1. The problem of the Chinese lineage 2. Conceptual framework: Family, kinship, descent 3 Cooperative Shareholding Companies: Background and the Fenghuang case 4. Collective interests, ritual and lineage 5. Conclusion Chapter 5: Ritual as means, medium and mode of entrepreneurship 1. Shenzhen: culture in a global city 2. Introducing the concept of ‘ritual entrepreneurship’ 3. Entrepreneurs, networks and ritual as a means of producing trust 4. Shanzhai entrepreneurs: High-tech industries and the ritual economy 5. Ritual as a means of entrepreneurial action: The case of pencai 6. Conclusion Chapter 6: Ritual in associational life 1. The public domain between family and state: The transition from Empire to contemporary China 2. State corporatism versus ritual economy 3. Surname associations: Descent as frame for networking 4. Place of origin: Networking arenas and the production of trustworthiness 5. Conclusion Chapter 7: Cultural governance and the ritual affirmation of traditional values 1. Culture and governance in the local state 2. Revival of traditional culture, hereditization and Shenzhen identity politics 3. The new cultural nexus of power 4. Governing public morality: The revival of Confucian beliefs and practices 5. Conclusion Chapter 8: Theoretical resumé: towards a global social science 1. Max Weber as point of departure 2. Ritual, rationality and the state 3. Ritual, the new cultural nexus of power, and evolutionary urban development 4. Ritual in a global social science References Endnotes Index


    Carsten Herrmann-Pillath is a Professor and Permanent Fellow in the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt University, Germany

    Guo Man is an Associate Research Professor in the School of Economics and Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen, China

    Feng Xingyuan is a Professor and Executive President, Cathay Institute for Public Affairs, Beijing, China

    "Ritual and Economy in Metropolitan China is essential background for understanding how traditions modernize within and through global processes. It is essential reading for understanding Shenzhen's emergence as China's fourth city by making salient how South Chinese villagers repurposed family identities and kinship networks to become successful entrepreneurs." - Mary-Ann O’Donnell, co-editor of Learning from Shenzhen: China's Post-Mao Experiment from Special Zone to Model City"

    "This is a stimulating study of the cultural underpinnings of urbanisation and economic development in the People’s Republic of China, using the case-example of the southern metropolis Shenzhen. The authors’ unusual combination of economic, sociological and anthropological approaches offers novel perspectives for specialists in all these fields, and for scholars in Chinese Studies more generally." - Philip Clart, Leipzig University

    "A great deal of social science scholarship on China gets caught up in a false dichotomy of Chinese exceptionalism vs. ‘Western’ social theory, resulting in studies that focus on either how much China differs from ’the West’ or on how China serves as a site where abstract ‘Western’ theory yields ‘Chinese characteristics’ on the ground. Ritual and Economy in Metropolitan China is one of those rare and rewarding studies that succeeds in transcending this dichotomy by laying the groundwork for a genuine ‘global social science’. Through a rich and highly grounded exploration of ritual practice and the ritual economy in Shenzhen, the authors demonstrate effectively that our taken-for-granted assumptions about social theory can be enriched and broadened by paying some attention to practices in places less heard from in the Western canon. A fascinating account that reaches far beyond the ‘China studies’ field." - Tim Oakes, University of Colorado at Boulder