Privatizing China: Socialism from Afar

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Everyday life in China is increasingly shaped by a novel mix of neoliberal and socialist elements, of individual choices and state objectives. This combination of self-determination and socialism from afar has incited profound changes in the ways individuals think and act in different spheres of society. Covering a vast range of daily life-from homeowner organizations and the users of Internet cafes to self-directed professionals and informed consumers-the essays in Privatizing China create a compelling picture of the burgeoning awareness of self-governing within the postsocialist context. The introduction by Aihwa Ong and Li Zhang presents assemblage as a concept for studying China as a unique postsocialist society created through interactions with global forms. The authors conduct their ethnographic fieldwork in a spectrum of domains-family, community, real estate, business, taxation, politics, labor, health, professions, religion, and consumption-that are infiltrated by new techniques of the self and yet also regulated by broader socialist norms. Privatizing China gives readers a grounded, fine-grained intimacy with the variety and complexity of everyday conduct in China's turbulent transformation.