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A social or cultural phenomenon or aspect of Chinese contemporary society (since 1949) - Research Paper Example

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A STUDY OF THE URBAN-TO-RURAL MIGRATION: INTRA-SOCIAL DISPARITIES IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA Introduction My paper essentially seeks to examine the current rural-urban dichotomy and migratory1 trends and development in contemporary China, through an inter-textual, inter-cultural and socio-economic analysis with certain political and socio-historical references…
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A social or cultural phenomenon or aspect of Chinese contemporary society (since 1949)
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A social or cultural phenomenon or aspect of Chinese contemporary society (since 1949)

Download file to see previous pages... My focus will remain largely on the effects and defects of these past and present trends urbanization and village-to-city migration defection. In this context, I will also give particular focus upon the relatively new research done on the position and plight of migrant women in the social structure of the modern, urbanized, industrial China, in broad reference to the central issue of migration. My topic will refer particularly to the works of contemporary urban and social theorists like Martin King Whyte, Wu Jieh-Min, Arianne M. Gaetano and Tamara Acka, among others. I will also consult authoritative government demographic reports and journals to expand the purview of my research and present a comprehensive analysis of the same. Urban-Rural Relations: A Brief Look into the Past The Maoist revolution of China, spanning the 1950s, led by the dynamic leader Mao Zedong, as well as the related economic reforms of 1966-78, had aimed to create a society of equals replacing a dense capitalist system of greed, corruption and exploitation. One the iconic and historically significant socialist uprisings, it had ventured to establish a communist and ‘egalitarian social order’(Whyte 2010). There existed, however a large gap between theory and reality. Instead, of stabilizing and equalizing the various social strata by creating an economic and cultural balance of sorts, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution deepened the gulf between the social classes and created a kind of politicized ‘serfdom’ that kept China away from an ideal communist reconfiguration of the society. (Whyte 2010) Migration and Intra-social Disparities The post-Mao era saw an unprecedented influx of rural migrants to the rapidly developing cities and urban centers of flourishing business, creating a cheap labor force. This rural to urban defection of poor Chinese laborers, especially during the 1980s, can be cited as the most extensive labor flow in the history of the world (Zhao 1999) This proved to be both an economic blessing as well as an indicator of social upheaval. The Rural migration to the urban area of China has been the focus of several social, cultural as well as demographic and anthropological studies. In 1992, records indicate that a staggering 150,000 people were stranded in the railway stations of the Sichuan and Hunan provinces during the ‘Spring Festival Migration’. (Bakken 1998) Laborers from flooded and poverty-stricken rural regions also defected for shelter and jobs to Shanghai, Fujian or other wealthy cities. Under the strict social and political system of hukou or householder registration, they existed mainly as second-class citizens, even outcasts, as Wu Jieh-min pertinently points out in her essay “Rural Migrant Workers and China’s Differential Citizenship” (2010). Due to the government restriction on rural to urban migration, a deep economic disparity developed between the two. As a result, a trend of added incentives attracted rural migrants illegally to the large industrial cities. While the labor source was fully utilized by the greedy and profit driven industries, factories, conglomerates and corporations, however, the socio-cultural history as well as economic and political evidence suggest systematic marginalization. The differential system of perception is a sad reality in the lives of the Chinese migrant families. Case in point, the unequal system of hukou ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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