• Home
  • Chinese Village Life Today
Chinese Village Life Today

Chinese Village Life Today

Building Families in an Age of Transition

by Gonçalo Santos

Published by: University of Washington Press

296 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 7 b&w illus., 2 maps, 5 charts, 9 tables

  • ISBN: 9780295747408
  • Published: August 2021


China has undergone a remarkable process of urbanization, but a significant portion of its citizens still live in rural villages. To gain better access to jobs, health care, and consumer goods, villagers often travel or migrate to cities, and that cyclical transit and engagement with new technoscientific and medical practices is transforming village life. In this thoughtful ethnography, Gonçalo Santos paints a richly detailed portrait of one rural township in Guangdong Province, north of the industrialized Pearl River Delta region.

Unlike previous studies of rural-urban relations and migration in China, Chinese Village Life Today—based on Santos’s more than twenty years of field research—starts from a rural community’s point of view rather than the perspective of major urban centers. Santos considers the intimate choices of village families in the face of larger forces of modernization, showing how these negotiations shape the configuration of daily village life, from marriage, childbirth, and childcare to personal hygiene and public sanitation. Santos also outlines the advantages of a rural existence, including a degree of autonomy over family planning and community life that is rare in urban China. Filled with vivid anecdotes and keen observations, this book presents a fresh perspective on China’s urban-rural divide and a grounded theoretical approach to rural transformation.