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The Paradox of China's Urban-Rural Integration: The Hukou System, Rural Policy, And Rural Land Development

Chi-Pui Cheung
Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development
Vol. 41, No. 2/3/4, The Chinese State, Local Communities, and Rural Economic Development (SUMMER, FALL, WINTER 2012), pp. 293-328
Published by: The Institute, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23339810
Page Count: 36
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The Paradox of China's Urban-Rural Integration: The Hukou System, Rural Policy, And Rural Land Development
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Abstract

This article is about a paradox of China's urban-rural integration. China's rapid urbanization has caused a widening urban-rural gap. The Chinese government has formulated many policies to bridge this gulf. In this article, however, I attempt to show a paradoxical process occurring as a result of China's urban-rural integration: despite the strong efforts of the Chinese government to integrate rural areas into urban development, urban-rural integration has actually reinforced alternative urban-rural differences. While national policy objectives are meant to guide the course of local development in one direction, local development moves in the opposite direction from that which was anticipated in the policy planning process. In this article, I address how this paradoxical process of urban-rural integration, or the gap between ideal state policy and actual policy implementation, emerged from the interactions between policy initiatives of the Chinese state and social practice of individuals. To illustrate how this happened, I draw on Max Gluckman's situational analysis and present an ethnography of urban change in Jiangxi Province, China. This article hopes to contribute to the anthropological study of policy. In particular I would like to draw attention to the microprocesses used by individuals in the development and implementation of policy.

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