China talks 2018: Social Mobility in China and Social Stratification Since the 3rd Plenum of 1978



Forty years of economic growth have seen China’ s economic growth from 2 percent of the world ’ s economy to 18 percent. As China has grown out of
state socialism, the limits to those changes are much as one might expect from reform rather than a radical break with the past. Class has essentially had to be ignored or redefined for political reasons. The dominant class has widened from its base in political power to accommodate and embrace wealth and social status. The middle classes have grown in size and aspiration, keeping pace with the growing complexity of both the economy and government
services. The three groups that constitute the subordinate classes (still the vast majority of the population) have changed in even more fundamental ways. The old privileged urban working class is essentially no more; the peasantry in dramatically large numbers has moved into activities other than farming; and many former land-based peasants have become a new, predominantly but not exclusively urban working class through internal migration. It is often assumed that economic growth creates opportunities for social mobility. As the case of China demonstrates, this may sometimes be more of an assumption than a reality. The opportunities for upward social mobility may be counterbalanced or even in some cases negated by impediments to individual advancement.

2018 China Talks Closing Event and Reception. Refreshments and Drinks will be provided. ALL ARE WELCOME!!!


Professor David S G Goodman
David S G Goodman is Professor of China Studies and Vice President Academic at Xi’an JiaotongLiverpool. Educated at the University of Manchester, Peking University, and the London School of Oriental and African Studies, his research focusses on social and political change at the local level in China. Recent publications include Class in Contemporary China (Polity, 2014) and Handbook of the Politics in China (Elgar, 2015)