University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Sociology

Undergraduate Course: China's Contemporary Transformations (SCIL10076)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryChina has undergone 150 years of tumultuous change, yet contemporary social and political conditions are often explained with reference to Chinese tradition. With a starting point in 20th century projects that sought to bring about radical transformation in China, this course will consider continuity and change in contemporary mainland China through a number of themes: migration and urbanization; social class; gender relations; culture and individualization; the organization of work; patterns of residence and the organization of space; communications and social media; and citizenship and social movements. Through these themes, the course will identify perspectives on pathways to change, as well as factors of continuity in social and political life.
Course description Course Outline
1. A century of upheaval: from reform to revolution and back again
2. Engineering social change under Mao and after
3. Space as the machine: work, residence and collective life
4. On the move: internal migration and urbanization
5. 'Masters of the state' become commodified labour
6. The gender of social change
7. Culture, self and individualization
8. Making a 'middle class'
9. Networked: communication and control
10. Citizenship and social movements
11. Conclusion and revision
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Sociology or closely related courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. One book review on a shortlist of books assigned for the course (those marked with asterisks in the list below) (20%). This constitutes formative feedback.

2. A group literature review on a common theme presented on a webfolio on Pebble+ (15%)

3. An outline of the proposed final essay (15%). This constitutes formative feedback.

4. A final essay on a topic chosen by the student (should be related to the book reviewed (45%).

5. Incorporating feedback exercise, to be included with the final essay (5%).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
Through this course, students will:
1. Understand and critically analyse processes of social change occurring in contemporary Chinese society, and reflect on the interplay between engineered (from above) and organic (from below) social change in shaping current patterns of social life.
2. Develop a sociological perspective on some important features of contemporary society in mainland China.
3. Understand some of the historical processes that have contributed to these features.
4. Refine the ability to communicate ideas clearly in written work, and develop sensitivity to different genres of writing.
5. Identify key themes and questions related to selected reading and facilitate discussion among peers.
Reading List
Below is a general reading list, which will be divided into essential and supplementary reading for each week (with additional items to be added). All essential reading will be available through the library or in electronic form. Books marked with asterisks are those the students can choose for the book review assignment.

Bakken, Borge. The Exemplary Society: Human Improvement, Social Control and the Dangers of Modernity in China. Oxford University Press.
Blecher, Marc. 2009a. China against the Tides: Restructuring through Revolution, Radicalism and Reform. Continuum International Publishing Group; 2009b. ┐Globalization, Structural Reform, and Labour Politics in China.┐ Global Labour Journal 1 (1): 6.
*Brady, Anne-Marie. 2008. Marketing Dictatorship: Propaganda and Thought Work in Contemporary China. Rowman & Littlefield.
*Bray, David. 2005. Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The Danwei System from Origins to Reform. Stanford University Press.
*Cai, Yongshun. 2010. Collective Resistance in China: Why Popular Protests Succeed or Fail. Stanford University Press.
Calhoun, Craig J. 1994. Neither Gods nor Emperors: Students and the Struggle for Democracy in China. University of California Press.
Chan, Anita, Richard Madsen and Jonathan Unger. 2009. Chen Village: Revolution to Globalization. University of California Press.
Chen, Guidi. 2006. Will the Boat Sink the Water? The Life of China┐s Peasants. Public Affairs.
Chen, Nancy et al (ed.s). 2001. China Urban: Ethnographies of Contemporary Culture. Duke University Press.
*Chen, Xi. 2011. Social Protest and Contentious Authoritarianism in China. Cambridge University Press.
Dutton, Michael. 1998. Streetlife China. Cambridge University Press.
*Evans, Harriet. 2007. Subject of Gender: Daughters and Mothers in Urban China. Rowman and Littlefield.
Evans, Harriet, and Julia Strauss. 2010. Special issue of China Quarterly on gender, agency and social change. China Quarterly 204.
*Fan, C. Cindy. 2007. China on the Move: Migration, the State and the Household. Routledge.
*Farrer, James. 2002. Opening up: Youth Sex Culture and Market Reform in Shanghai. University of Chicago Press.
Fei, Xiaotong. 1992. From the Soil, the Foundations of Chinese Society. University of California Press.
Gaetano, Arianne, and Tamara Jacka (ed.s). 2004. On the Move: Women and Rural-to-Urban Migration in Contemporary China. 2004. Columbia University Press.
*Hanser, Amy. 2008. Service Encounters: Class, Gender, and the Market for Social Distinction in Urban China. Stanford University Press.
*Hsing, You-tien. 2010. The Great Urban Transformation Politics of Land and Property in China. Oxford University Press.
Hsing, You-tien, and Ching Kwan Lee(ed.s). 2010. Reclaiming Chinese Society: The New Social Activism. Routledge.
*Jacka, Tamara. 2005. Rural Women in Urban China: Gender, Migration and Social Change. M. E. Sharpe.
Jeffreys, Elaine (ed.). 2009. China's Governmentalities: Governing Change, Changing Government. Routledge.
*Judd, Ellen. 2002. The Chinese Women's Movement Between State and Market. Stanford University Press.
*Lee, Ching Kwan. 2007. Against the Law: Labor Protests in China┐s Rustbelt and Sunbelt. University of California Press.
Lee, Ching Kwan, and Yonghong Zhang. 2013. The Power of Instability: Unraveling the Microfoundations of Bargained Authoritarianism in China. American Journal of Sociology 118 (6): 1475-1508.
Lee, Ching Kwan (ed.). 2007. Working in China: Ethnographies of Labor and Workplace Transformation. Routledge.
Liao, Yiwu. 2008. The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories, China from the Bottom up. Pantheon Books.
Link, Perry, Richard P. Madsen and Paul Pickowicz (ed.s). 2013. Restless China. Rowman & Littlefield.
*Mann, Susan. 2011. Gender and Sexuality in Chinese History. Cambridge University Press.
Mitter, Rana. 2008. Modern China: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
O'Brien, Kevin J (ed.). 2008. Popular Protest in China. Harvard University Press.
*O'Brien, Kevin J., and Lianjiang Li. 2006. Rightful Resistance in Rural China. Cambridge University Press.
Perry, Elizabeth J., and Mark Selden (ed.s). 2010. Chinese Society: Change, Conflict and Resistance. RoutledgeCurzon.
*Qiu, Jack Linchuan. 2009. Working-class Network Society: Communication Technology and the Information Have-less in Urban China. MIT Press.
*Ren, Hai. 2013. The Middle Class in Neoliberal China: Governing Risk, Life Building and Themed Spaces. Routledge.
Sang, Ye. 2006. China Candid: The People on the People┐s Republic. University of California Press.
Stockman, Norman. 2000. Understanding Chinese Society. Polity Press.
Thornton, Patricia M. 2007. Introduction. Disciplining the State: Virtue, Violence, and State-Making in Modern China. Harvard University Press.
Tomba, Luigi. 2009. Of Quality, Harmony, and Community: Civilization and the Middle Class in Urban China. positions 17 (3): 591-616.
Wang, Chaohua. 2003. One China, Many Paths. Verso.
Whyte, Martin King (ed.). 2010. One Country, Two Societies: Rural-Urban Inequality in Contemporary China. Harvard University Press.
Wu, Fulong (ed.). 2007. China┐s Emerging Cities: the Making of the New Urbanism. Routledge.
*Yan, Yunxiang. 2009. The Individualization of Chinese Society. Berg.
*Yang, Guobin. 2009. Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online. Columbia University Press.
Yang, Mayfair M. H. 1989. The Gift Economy and State Power in China. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 31, 1, 1989, 25-54.
*Zhang, Li. 2010. In Search of Paradise: Middle-Class Living in a Chinese Metropolis. Cornell University Press.

Selected documentary films:

Children of Blessing, 2005, Jiang Xueqin.
China Blue, 2005, Teddy Bear Films.
China from the Inside, 2006, BBC.
Dr Ma┐s Country Clinic, 2008, Cong Feng.
In Search of Lin Zhao's Soul, 2004, Hu Jie.
Morning Sun, 2003, Longbow Group.

Out of Phoenix Bridge, 1997, Li Hong.
Petition ABC, 2009, Zhao Liang.
San Li Dong, 2006, Lin Xin.
Village Middle School, 2006, Tammy Cheung.
We are the Ellipsis of Communism, 2007, Cui Zi┐en.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsChina Contemporary Transformations
Course organiserDr Sophia Woodman
Tel: (0131 6)51 4745
Course secretaryMr Ewen Miller
Tel: (0131 6)50 3925
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information