This paper develops a classification of the emerging agrarian class positions in China today. Using an instrument based on rural households' combination of market positions in four markets – land, labour, means of production and product – I identify five agrarian classes: the capitalist employer class, the petty‐bourgeois class of commercial farmers, two labouring classes of dual‐employment households and wage workers, and subsistence peasants. This classification is then used as a heuristic device to organize the empirical analysis that examines how dynamics of agrarian change drive class differentiation in rural China. For the capitalist employer class, the analysis focuses on their diverse paths of accumulation; for the petty‐bourgeois commercial farmers, their contingent resilience and tendencies of differentiation; and for the two classes of labour, the commodification of their subsistence. The state plays important but varying roles in all these processes.
Accumulation, Capitalism, China, Class differentiation, Commodification, State intervention
Asian Studies | Inequality and Stratification | Rural Sociology
Journal of Agrarian Change
ZHANG, Forrest Qian.(2015). Class Differentiation in Rural China: Dynamics of Accumulation, Commodification and State Intervention. Journal of Agrarian Change, 15(3), 338-365.
Available at: https://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/2458
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