"...a thought provoking book..."American Historical Review
"When Yunxiang Yan's first book, The Flow of Gifts, was published in 1996 it was immediately clear that a new leading scholar of contemporary Chinese society had entered the scene. Yan's second book Private Life Under Socialism richly delivers on the promise of his first. This new book is, in fact, very much a companion volume to The Flow of Gifts. Together, they constitute a uniquely rich ethnography of the intimate details of social life as lived and experienced in the village where Yan himself spent 15 years of his life before becoming an anthropologist."China Quarterly
" . . . Yan contributes tremendously to the field of China studies by empirically countering a number of its dominant and discriminatory assumptions."Canadian Journal of History
"Throughout this well-researched and highly original book, Yan has once again demonstrated his unusual ethnographic sensitivity and fine ability to capture the multilayered micropolitics of changing rural social life."Journal of Asian Studies
"While the majority of the world views contemporary China as the single most formidable economic force on the planet, threatening to define a new age, anthropologists of China are taking a characteristically contrary approach by studying the deeply personal and emotional social worlds of various Chinese communities . . . Yan directly challenges the entrenched theory of the Chinese family as a corporate enterprise in which the the economic self-interest of the domestic group is the driving force of development."Matthew Z. Noellert, Anthropological Quarterly
From the Inside Flap
The author’s focus on the personal and the emotional sets this book apart from most studies of the Chinese family. Yan explores private lives to examine areas of family life that have been largely overlooked, such as emotion, desire, intimacy, privacy, conjugality, and individuality.
He concludes that the past five decades have witnessed a dual transformation of private life: the rise of the private family, within which the private lives of individual women and men are thriving.