New PDF release: Anxious Wealth: Money and Morality Among China's New Rich

By John Osburg

ISBN-10: 0804783535

ISBN-13: 9780804783538

Who precisely are China's new wealthy? This pioneering research introduces readers to the personal lives—and the nightlives—of the strong marketers and executives redefining good fortune and standing within the urban of Chengdu. Over the process greater than 3 years, anthropologist John Osburg observed, and in a few circumstances assisted, filthy rich chinese language businessmen as they courted consumers, companions, and govt officials.

Drawing on his immersive stories, Osburg invitations readers to affix him as he trips in the course of the new, hugely gendered leisure websites for chinese language businessmen, together with karaoke golf equipment, saunas, and therapeutic massage parlors—places particularly designed to cater to the needs and delight of elite males. inside those areas, a masculinization of industrial is occurring. Osburg info the advanced code of habit that governs businessmen as they cross approximately banqueting, consuming, playing, bribing, changing presents, and acquiring sexual services.

These problematic social networks play a key position in producing company, appearing social prestige, and reconfiguring gender roles. yet many marketers suppose trapped by way of their tasks and ethical compromises during this evolving surroundings. finally, Osburg examines their deep ambivalence approximately China's destiny and their very own complicity within the significant problems with post-Mao chinese language society—corruption, inequality, materialism, and lack of belief.

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Additional info for Anxious Wealth: Money and Morality Among China's New Rich

Sample text

The practices of accumulation engaged in by elite networks generate tragic consequences for the public good—shoddy construction (referred to as “tofu dregs construction”), contaminated food, and stark material inequalities, revealing the limits of the relational ethics of guanxi. While some scholars have interpreted the term suzhi (personal quality) as evidence of a totalizing discourse of neoliberalism used to measure the economic value of human subjects, I contend that suzhi has been appropriated by many Chinese to point out the moral failings of the new rich and their lack of public concern.

During my research, I observed that prestige accrued to those who pos- 24 INTRODUCTION sessed expansive guanxiwang and could mobilize them to get things done for others. As Yunxiang Yan (1996) points out, gifts tend to flow to those who have the most power and prestige and are thus most likely to be able to assist others with weaker guanxi networks. Many of my informants often went out of their way to do favors, offer gifts, or deepen a relationship with a powerful boss or official even when no immediate favor was being sought since these actions allowed them to broaden their guanxiwang.

To most Chinese, however, each region and city is associated with a character type, some aspects of which locals self-identify with, others of which they reject. These tropes figured heavily into how my research subjects talked about gender relations, business practices, and the overall direction of change in China during the reform era. Regional “character” was used to explain particular behaviors, and they frequently cited regional cultural differences to account for the representativeness or uniqueness of Chengdu in economic and cultural matters.

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Anxious Wealth: Money and Morality Among China's New Rich by John Osburg


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