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Liu, Jieyu (2024) 'Social reproduction in rural Chinese families: A three‐generation portrait.' Journal of Agrarian Change. (Forthcoming)

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Much of the existing debate on social reproduction focuses on capitalist social relations or is framed around the distinction between the Global North and Global South. Using China, whose unique post‐1949 developmental trajectory embraces both elements of socialism and capitalism, this article aims to breakdown the dichotomy between capitalism and other economic systems and instead draw attention to the ways in which households, the state and market are interdependent. Drawing upon an ethnography conducted in two rural villages and three‐generational life history data, this article explores how the organization of reproductive work evolved in rural families against the backdrop of wider political and economic transformations since 1949. Through an examination of the inter‐linkages between productive and reproductive activities across three generations, it reveals that unpaid reproductive work, performed unambiguously by women, has been central to China's economic modernization in both the Mao and Post‐Mao eras. The organization of this reproductive work among women inside the households of each generation since 1949 is influenced by a combination of factors including the patrilocal and patrilineal kinship system, the social welfare context and the economic processes of a particular era. While confirming existing scholarship on migration and agrarian change, by revealing the household as a site of gendered and intergenerational negotiation, this article disputes a linear generational power shift in agrarian transformations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: life history research, rural China, social reproduction, gender, generation
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 14710358
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2024 08:30
Funders: European Union, Economic and Social Research Council

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