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State-Sponsored InequalityThe Banner System and Social Stratification in Northeast China$
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Shuang Chen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780804799034

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804799034.001.0001

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Social Formation Under State Domination in Modern China

Social Formation Under State Domination in Modern China

An Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter One Social Formation Under State Domination in Modern China
Source:
State-Sponsored Inequality
Author(s):

Shuang Chen

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804799034.003.0001

This chapter introduces the methodological and historical background that supports the narrative presented in the rest of the book. The Shuangcheng settlement is a case of state-initiated projects of social engineering by which the state used policies to proactively plan or design social orders. Thus, the case offers an opportunity for exploring the mechanisms through which the state-designated social hierarchy played out on the ground. After introducing the Banner system and the settings of Shuangcheng, the chapter integrates theories in state-building and social stratification to provide a conceptual framework surrounding the question: how a state-dominated system of social formation influences life opportunities. Within the framework, state registration and resource allocation created the structural inequality; customary practices made possible local agency; and the interplay of local agency with the multiple structures – economic conditions, state entitlements, and family demography – eventually constructed and sustained the boundaries between social categories.

Keywords:   social engineering, state building, agency, structural inequality, Eight Banners, state registration, land ownership

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