The personal stories of the Gao villagers demonstrate and are related to changes in China.
This is a close study of Gao Village twenty years after the author, an anthropologist and native of Gao village, wrote his original ethnography Gao Village. It combines ethnographic analysis, personal vignettes, and a number of fascinating stories, which presents a convincing yet complex picture of how Gao villagers interact with the outside world. With his sympathetic and insider’s approach, the author argues that rural Chinese display great entrepreneurship and inner strength of self-improvement; they are active contributors to China’s economic boom.
“This is a close ethnographic look at the world of Gao villagers twenty years after the author, an anthropologist and native of Gao village, wrote his original ethnography. Through a look at Gao villagers, including the ethnographer’s own family and extended kin, we are able to see the decline of agriculture and the integration of rural people into an urban economy. We get an in-depth look at how rural people have prospered in this informal economy, but we also see them confronting new sources of stress and strain even as their material living standard rises.”
–Ellen Oxfeld, Middlebury College
“This sequel to Gao’s earlier work (1999) about his home village in Jiangxi Province is an engaging and digestible short course on contemporary China’s rural economy. The anecdotes from observation and personal knowledge of the lives of Gao villagers reflect Gao’s critical, often wry perspective; some of the best chapters are those that profile the lives of Gao villagers’ entrepreneurial vicissitudes in a relatively unregulated market environment.”
–Ann Hill, Dickinson College
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