From Library Journal
Zhang (anthropology, Univ. of California, Davis)has reworked her dissertation into a readable though still scholarly study of China's "floating population," i.e., the one million peasants from Chinese rural areas who have "floated" into urban areas to form a workforce that has changed the dynamics of Chinese society, commerce, and power relations. Arguing that such changes symbolize post-Mao China's move toward democracy, Zhang centers her study around the largest migrant community who moved to Beijing from rural Wenzhou, establishing themselves in 48 large compounds. She explores the ways their leaders build power bases by controlling the market space and carefully details the many challenges they face, such as discrimination, crime, and governmental harassment. Background on China's system of household registry and some knowledge about migration within the country are needed to understand this study fully. Most suitable for academic libraries. Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Community Coll., Garden City, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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"Li Zhang's fascinating study of migrant workers in Beijing will add much to scholars' understanding of power structures in 'late-reform-era China.'"Asian Affairs
"For all students and scholars wanting to understand the rapidly changing nature of the workforce in China's cities, Stangers in the City should be required reading. It is also a lively and extremely well written account of the struggle to survive (and sometimes thrive) in urban China."Asian Affairs
"All in all, this is an excellent study of an important migrant community in China and adds a great deal to the existing scholarship on Chinese society and politics. The author struck a wonderful balance between social theory and ethnography, which serves as a model for any student interested in studying spatial politics and power relations in other kinds of communities in a non-Chinese context. For a study that draws liberally on contemporary social theories and postmodernist thinking, it is also pleasantly jargon free. I thus recommend this book highly not only to students of contemporary China, but to a wider readership interested in issues of migration, urbanization, and political change in postsocialist and developing countries."The Journal of Asian Studies
"In short, this is an excellent ethnographic analysis and a moving piece of social commentary on China's late socialism."American Journal of Sociology
"Strangers in the City is a valuable addition to our understanding of contemporary China. The issues it deals with are important ones in China and for anthropology."American Ethnologist
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