China's New Socialist Countryside

Modernity Arrives in the Nu River Valley

Russell Harwood

  • Published: 2013
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; Anthropology
  • Bibliographic information: 248 pp., 4 maps, 29 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Studies on Ethnic Groups in China
  • Contents

Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this case study examines the impact of economic development on ethnic minority people living along the upper-middle reaches of the Nu (Salween) River in Yunnan. In this highly mountainous, sparsely populated area live the Lisu, Nu, and Dulong (Drung) people, who until recently lived as subsistence farmers, relying on shifting cultivation, hunting, the collection of medicinal plants from surrounding forests, and small-scale logging to sustain their household economies. China's New Socialist Countryside explores how compulsory education, conservation programs, migration for work, and the expansion of social and economic infrastructure are not only transforming livelihoods, but also intensifying the Chinese Party-state's capacity to integrate ethnic minorities into its political fabric and the national industrial economy.
Russell Harwood is a social researcher working in international development.

"This is the first genuinely theoretical study of the Nu people, with the author fully conversant with the theories of ethnicity and development. The subject is important, because modes of development and attitudes toward it are of critical significance all over the world."
-Colin Mackerras, professor emeritus, Griffith University, Australia
Foreword by Stevan Harrell
Equivalents and Abbreviations

1. Life at the Periphery of the Chinese Party-State: An Introduction
2. Nature Reserves and Reforestation: The Impacts of Conservation Programs upon Livelihoods
3. All Is Not as It Appears: Education Reform
4. Migration from the Margins: Increasing Outward Migration for Work


Glossary of Chinese Terms

"Harwood brings up questions that are applicable to situations beyond the communities in Gongshan, such as conservation of minority cultures and livelihoods against the background of globalization, as well as structured inequalities in the process of urbanization and market-oriented economic development."

"[Q]uite usable for introducing undergraduates to concepts of political ecology and critical development studies, as well as a suite of important social issues in contemporary China including minzu politics, the discussion of quality (suzhi), rural-urban and geographical disparities, and migration....[It] is a valuable contribution and will be of particular interest for use in the classroom."
-Emily T. Yeh, China Quarterly, The