China Constructing Capitalism

Economic Life and Urban Change

By Michael Keith, Scott Lash, Jakob Arnoldi, Tyler Rooker

© 2013 – Routledge

344 pages | 39 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415497060
pub: 2013-08-27
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About the Book

China has been growing at over ten per cent annually since 1978, but this has only come to very widespread notice in the past decade. This received wisdom about China has been largely of two types, both of which – more or less – understand China in the context of neoliberalism. The more business- or business studies-oriented literature seems to argue that if China does not adapt the rule of clear and distinct property and contract law – in short, of Western institutions – its economy will stall. The second set of voices is more clearly from the left, arguing that the Chinese economy, and city, is neo-liberal. For them, China does not diverge widely from the Anglo-American model that, from 2008, has brought the world economy to its knees.

China Constructing Capitalism takes issue with these analyses. The authors argue that it is not Western neo-liberalism that is constructing the Chinese economy, but instead that China is constructing its own version of capitalism. The two central theses of their argument are:

  • economic life – neo-liberal economic life is individualized and disembedded, while the China model is relational and situated
  • urban change – China has created a form of ‘local state capitalism’ which stands in contrast to neoliberal versions of the city.

This book analyses China as a 'risk culture', examining among others Chinese firms and political ties, property development, migrant urbanisms and share trading rooms. It scrutinises the ever-present shadow of the risk-averse (yet uncertainty-creating) state. China Constructing Capitalism is a must-read for social scientists, policy makers and investors.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Chinese Thought, Cultural Theory 2. Connections, Networks, Culture: The Institutions of Chinese Capitalism 3. Relational Property and Urban Temporality: China’s Urbanisms in the City of Experts 4. Local State Capitalism? From Urban Hierarchy to City Markets 5. Chinese Firms and Political Ties 6. Property Development: Markets and Districts 7. Trading Room Ethnography: Stuck in China 8. Knowing but Not Doing: The Financial Sector in China and Institutional Reform 9. Risk Cultures: Urban Biographies 10. Shenzhen Dwelling: Arrival and Migrant Urbanisms. Bibliography

About the Authors

Michael Keith is Director of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society and holds a personal chair in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oxford.

Scott Lash is Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Jakob Arnoldi is Professor in the Department of Business Administration at Aarhus University.

Tyler Rooker is Lecturer in Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham.

About the Series

International Library of Sociology

The International Library of Sociology (ILS) is the most important series of books on sociology ever published. Founded in the 1940s by Karl Mannheim, the series became the forum for pioneering research and theory, marked by comparative approaches and the identification of new directions in sociology, publishing major figures in Anglo-American and European sociology, from Durkheim and Weber to Parsons and Gouldner, and from Ossowski and Klein to Jasanoff and Walby.

Its new editors, John Holmwood (University of Nottingham, UK) and Vineeta Sinha (National University of Singapore), plan to develop the series as a truly global project, reflecting new directions and contributions outside its traditional centres, and connecting with the original aim of the series to produce sociological knowledge that addresses pressing global social problems and supports democratic debate.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUS068000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Economic Development
POL033000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Globalization
SOC026000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General