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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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Sustaining Hierarchy

Sustaining Hierarchy

Wealth Stratification

(p.190) Chapter Seven Sustaining Hierarchy
State-Sponsored Inequality

Shuang Chen

Stanford University Press

By examining changes in land distribution between 1870 and 1906, this chapter explains at the macro-level why the state-mandated social hierarchy endured in Shuangcheng. It shows that, despite the upward and downward wealth mobility at individual household level, the state land allocation policies still effectively maintained a relatively equal land distribution within each of the metropolitan and rural bannermen population category. Thus, land distribution among these entitled bannermen exhibited a pattern of stratification without concentration. This pattern of land distribution sustained a stable landowner class. By presenting one of the first empirical studies of land distribution in early modern China, this chapter shows the resilient nature of the social hierarchy created by state land allocation. It challenges the view that, when the Qing government privatized the state land in Manchuria, the majority of bannermen lost their land ownership to civilian commoners.

Keywords:   land distribution, wealth mobility, social hierarchy, land ownership, wealth stratification/distribution, Manchuria

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