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A New Account of the Study about Jiangnan Town: the Social Structure of Zhujiajiao in Late Qing and Early Republic

Author: XieZuoZuo
Tutor: ZhangJiangHua
School: Shanghai University
Course: Anthropology
Keywords: Jiangnan town Publicity public sphere the social structure
CLC: C912.4
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 137
Quote: 0
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This research is based on the reflections of Town study. The author has found outthat town, as a relative independent and innovative social structure, still needs to befurther studied. Therefore, the author has chosen Zhujiajiao Town from late QingDynasty to early Republic of China as the study subject, researching its social history,landscape, local structure and operation. In this period, although the state instability,constantly capitalist invasion, but zhujiajiao is still rely on local autonomy maintainorder stability, and even realize the further development of the economy. This paperalso so think, traditional Chinese Jiangnan town is a public domain development isrelatively mature, public goods supply relative fully, with considerable autonomy ofthe community.This essay shows that: in the late Qing dynasty, as the Chinese history oftransition, this kind of public supply has experienced from the traditional to themodern scholar of gentlemen and businessmen’s transformation. In traditional empireperiod, as a social elite gentry plays communication state and society, and mutualcoordination to complete the social order and maintenance work. The situation hadbeen changed in late Qing dynasty, when the abolition of imperial examinations, theautonomy of local societies and the collapse of monarchy system made the localgentries face a structural transformation, meanwhile, the merchant power had beengradually expanded under the impact of capitalist economic system. All the changesabove had brought about some new features to local social structure of ZhujiajiaoTown. The newly emerged business elites had been able to unite the various socialforces by organizing all kinds of activities in the public sphere of local society, whichultimately formed a stable social structure. Such a social structure had kept a goodsocial order, and more importantly assuring the golden age of the town, althoughsome town was just facing the shock of capitalist economy.Therefore, this essay finally proceeded to do some research on individual social elites, and by analyzing how they operating the local society, the author found out thatthe emerging commercial elite inheritance the original social and cultural value of thegentry, the traditional public or private ideas and moral still role in them. That is to say,in this time, these business elites who was adapting to the capitalist economic systeminherited traditional gentry in the role of social structure, and we could say that neithera substantial transformation of local social structure, nor any crisis of social order hadhappened in Zhujiajiao Town. But the national power to grassroots penetration whichleads to local social order disorder. Thus we can make a reflection on the research onChinese public sphere during these years: in the late Qing dynasty period in China doappear public domain active, but studies this problem, the most important issue is tounderstand the social elite operation process of the local society.

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CLC: > Social Sciences > Sociology > Social structure and social relations > Cultural anthropology, social anthropology
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