Making Class and Gender:White-collar Men in Postsocialist China

Hird, Derek (2016) Making Class and Gender:White-collar Men in Postsocialist China. In: Changing Chinese Masculinities. Transnational Asian Masculinities . Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, pp. 137-156. ISBN 9789888208562

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The prominence of white-collar (bailing) identity in twenty-first century China is a significant outcome of the major class and gender transformations in the reform era. White-collar men more than any other category fit the post-Mao project of producing affluent, well-educated, civilized (wenming) and high-quality (suzhi gao) individuals, replete with material and career aspirations and the skills to compete in the transnational economy. This chapter explores the formation of Chinese white-collar men's subjectivities through interviews and ethnographic research. It reveals that Chinese white-collar men draw on a variety of globally circulating and locally embedded discourses to explain and legitimise their behaviour. Often defining themselves through a rhetoric of freedom and equality, but also acting to shore up their own gendered and classed privileges, Chinese white-collar men show themselves to be paradoxically progressive and conservative at the same time.

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08 Nov 2018 14:30
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21 Nov 2022 16:40