Urban Households: Supplicants to a Socialist State

Deborah Davis and Stevan Harrell

in Chinese Families in the Post-Mao Era

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 1993 | ISBN: 9780520077973
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520913578 | DOI:
Urban Households: Supplicants to a Socialist State

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This chapter addresses several questions about the impact of Mao Zedong's reforms after his reign on household size and composition of cities in China, introducing the neighborhood and describing the general changes in household size and composition that occurred between 1987 and 1990. It also focuses on one particular characteristic of these households—a strong “tilt” toward joint living with sons—and analyzes the cultural and practical supports for the predominance of this apparently traditional arrangement in an era of rapid economic and social upheaval. The chapter briefly reviews the housing policies of the 1980s and then looks closely at which families in its sample initially drew the greatest benefits. In this way, it not only explores the impact of the reforms on urban household composition, but also raises questions about the emergence of new inequalities and class divisions.

Keywords: Mao Zedong; reforms; household; China; housing policies; families; inequalities; class divisions

Chapter.  12366 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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