Society building: A China Model of Social Development

English version: published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014

In China’s future social development, there is likely to be an interest in 'society building' with interactions between top-down and bottom-up approaches, along with a deepened level of social reform and the construction of a harmonious or 'symbiotic society'. This represents one of China’s social development models, and is reflected in the Communist Party of China (CPC) and state policy. The term of “society building” was proposed by Chinese thinkers nearly one century ago, was used by Chinese sociologists to study Chinese society since the 1930s. From the 21st century, “society building” has been conceptualised as a concept by Chinese social scientists interdisciplinarily. The main concern of China for its future social development, is to enhance its people’s wellbeing and encourage them to build Chinese society in innovative and creative ways.

This volume showcases the latest research of non-Chinese scholars relating to this indigenous concept and to China’s social development in the global context. It tackles the following topics: the assessment of the social impact of infrastructure projects; China’s reforms and its changing political system; whether or not the Singapore model is suitable for China to follow; soft power through education; and boundaries, cosmopolitanisms and spaces in Chinese and international cities. The book will be of interest to academics, professionals, practitioners, university students and the general public seeking a comprehensive understanding of China.

Society Building: A China Model of Social Development, Edited by Xiangqun Chang

English version: published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014

ISBN (10): 1-4438-5645-2, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-5645-4

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Chinese version: published by the Global China Press, 2014.

ISBN (Hardback): 978-1-910334-01-0; ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-910334-00-3

Recommendations from social scientists and China experts

Modernity in China's histories over the last 150 years has been a complex, often painful process. This continues, and aspects of it are looked at in this clear, hybrid and scholarly book. European experts think hard about the meaning of modernity on the specifics of Chinese society, its politics, its social composition and its landscape through its cities. But there is also excellent comparative studies of China's experiences in these areas and those of India and SIngapore, packed full of interesting data. This is a timely book, because the notion of a specific China Model was in danger of retreating into rhetoric. These essays show that there is much about the Chinese experience of its reform in the last thirty years that was borrowed, but also much that was due to indigenous innovation. Armed with the detailed frameworks and the information from the essays in this book, we can think about the Model much more profitably, and put into practice one of the great implication of the Reform process when it started in the late 1970s, to make practice the criterion of truth. -- Kerry Brown, Professor of Chinese Politics, Director of the China Studies Centre, University of Sydney, Australia
     Xiangqun Chang has assembled an excellent team of contributors to discuss the idea of 'society building' in China. The term was coined by Sun Yat-Sen in 1917, but it could not be more contemporary – as China wrestles to reconcile the demands of population, resources, democracy and social welfare. This book gives us considerable insights into the alternative visions of social development now being discussed in China. -- Robin Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, University of Oxford, author of Global Sociology, UK
     This book tackles one of the most important tasks for social science research in the 21st century, understanding the Great Transformation that is occurring in China.  Inspired by the late Professor Lu Xueyi, Society Building probes the many models interpreting and guiding the process of change. I highly recommend the book.-- Gary Hamilton, Professor of International Studies and Sociology, University of Washington, USA
     Lu Xueyi’s name is known for his work in China on building a harmonious society. Fei Xiatong, whose work is the key for Western sociologists to understand China’s Society Building, explains in his chapter Chaxugeju that “Chinese social patterns… lack organizations that transcend individual personal relationships” (From the Soil, 1992:160). As a result, public virtues dedicated to serving organizations could not develop in China. The present collection of essays shows how Lu’s projects were designed to follow Fei’s insight.-- Horst J. Helle, Professor emeritus of Sociology, Institute of Sociology, University of Munich, Germany
     As China’s rapid economic progress fluctuates, with global repercussions, it is becomes imperative that we get a better understanding of the socio/political structures that underpin and interact with this advance.  This collection of papers is a valuable addition to this discussion. Contributors explain the various social and economic ‘models’ that China has experimented with putting them in both historical and comparative perspectives.  Highly recommended reading. -- Christopher Howe, Professor emeritus of Department of Financial & Management Studies (DeFiMS), SOAS, University of London, UK
     Drawing on the expertise and insights of scholars from eight countries, this book illuminates the meaning of the ‘China model’ and the implications for China’s societal development and political system. The book tackles this significant issue from a variety of interesting angles. It is well worth reading, especially in light of China’s importance in the world. -- Jonathan Unger, Professor of sociology, Founding Editor of The China Journal, Australian National University, Australia
     The concept “Society building”, derived from extensive research of Chinese society by Chinese social scientists over several generations, should be a shared resource of human knowledge. This academic product is made in UK, which signified the academic exchanges between China and the world entered into a new era. -- Zheng Hangsheng, Professor of Sociology, Renmin University; Honorary President of the Chinese Sociological Association (CSA), China

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Foreword One / Martin Albrow
Foreword Two / Lu Xueyi
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction One: Models in an Uncertain World / Thomas B Gold
Introduction Two: China Model and Society Building / Xiangqun Chang
Can Social Impact Assessment of Infrastructure Projects Contribute to Society Building and Social Governance in China? / Bettina Gransow
China’s Reforms and Changing Political System / Flemming Christianen
Can Singapore Model be a Model for China? Some Insights from the Data Analysis of the AsiaBarometer Survey / Shigeto Sonoda
Soft Power through Education: Comparing China and India / Parama Sinha Palit
Internal Boundaries, Cosmopolitanisms and Intermediate Spaces in Chinese and International Cities / Laurence Roulleau-Berger
Afterword / Xiangqun Chang
Appendix A Bibliographies on Society Building in Chinese with English Translation
Appendix B Editor’s Notes on Chinese Usages
Appendix C Tributes to Professor Lu Xueyi / Contributors and Xiangqun Chang
Appendix D Recommendations from social scientists and China experts
Glossary
Contributors

Contributors

Professor Martin Albrow, Academician of Academy of Social Sciences  (AcSS); Honorary vice President &  former President of the British  Sociological Association (BSA), UK; Senior Fellow of The Käte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Bonn, Germany; Emeritus Professor of  University of Wales; founding editor of International Sociology, author of The Global Age: State and Society beyond Modernity (1996).
Dr Xiangqun Chang, Director of CCPN Global, Editor of Journal of China in Comparative Perspective(JCCP), and the Chief Editor of Global China Press; she is Research Associate of SOAS China Institute, University of London, UK; and is a Special term Professor of Fudan University, China. She is the only UK-based scholar who trained in both China and the UK in sociology with publications of two million Chinese characters and English words; author of Guanxi or Li shang wanglai? --- Reciprocity, Social Support Networks, & Social Creativity in a Chinese Village (2009; 2010).
Professor Flemming Christiansen, Social Sciences of East Asia: China’s Political Economy at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; coeditor of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs (2009-13); author of a large number of articles and book contributions on labour, development, and rural-urban relationships in China; co-editor of Encyclopaedia of Modern China. 4 volumes, Farmington: Charles Scribner's Sons (Thomson Gale Group), 2009.
Professor Thomas Gold, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley; Executive Director of the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies, USA; he is very active in civil society in the US, serving on the boards of several organizations concerned with USChina relations; his research interests are youth; guanxi; urban private entrepreneurs (getihu); NGO; popular culture; and social and political change.
Professor Bettina Gransow, Chinese Politics at the East Asian Institute and the Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science, Free University Berlin, Germany. Her publications are in German, English and Chinese since 1980s, covering topics of migrants and health in China; migrant communities and social change in Chinese megacities; social assessment; risks of impoverishment; and involuntary resettlement in Rural China.
Professor Lu Xueyi (1933-2013), Academician of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS); Honorary President of Chinese Sociological Association (CSA); Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Beijing University of Technology (BJUT), China; he was the founder of ‘Lu Xueyi Foundation for development of sociology’; author and editor of more than 40 books on sociology theory, social structure, rural development or society building.
Dr Parama Sinha Palit, a Singapore-based scholar on international relations, she is also a Research Associate at CCPN Global, a UK-based academic society working on comparative perspectives on China; she has earlier worked with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and the United Service Institution (USI) in India, and also with the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore (NUS). She is the author of forthcoming book China’s soft power diplomacy: Historical Origin, Modern Methods and Strategic Outcomes (Oxford University Press, India).
Professor Laurence Roulleau-Berger, Research Director at National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in sociology (France, Research), Institute of Action, Economic and Political Thought (Triangle), Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) de Lyon, France. Her research interests are urban segregation and intermediate spaces, work and employment, migrations and multipolar economies in Europe and in China; she is involved in a mean reflexion with Chinese sociologists on the dewesternization of sociology. Her works have seen numerous books and articles in French and English.
Professor Shigeto Sonoda, Professor of Sociology at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA) and course director of ITASIA in Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies (GSII) at the University of Tokyo. He has taken initiatives in conducting researches including AsiaBarometer 2003-2008, Asia Student Survey 2008-13, Tianjin Annual Survey 1997-2011. His latest publications include: Emerging Middle Classes in East Asia, Keisho-shobo (2012, in Japanese), A History Society Building: A China Model of Social Development of Japan-China Relations, 1972-2012 III Society and Culture/IV Private Sector, University of Tokyo Press (editor, 2012/2014, in Japanese).

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