Social sciences have largely relied on the concept of the nation-state. In the nineteenth century, when Western imperial powers tried to establish their rule in far away Asia, modern types of government were introduced as colonial states. Newly independent states, however, distinguished themselves from their colonial predecessors by emphasizing their acquisition of demarcated territory as national homeland, registering their populations as nations, and promoting the superior integrating power of national sovereignty. Nevertheless, the nation-state is only a man-made framework for social and intellectual construction, which is naturally vulnerable to change. As Saskia Sassen writes in her Territory, Authority, Rights (2006), we “are living through an epochal transformation, one as yet young but already showing its muscle. We have come to call this transformation globalization, and much attention has been paid to the emerging apparatus of global institutions and dynamics. Yet, if this transformation is indeed epochal, it has to engage the most complex institutional architecture we have ever produced: the national state.” The International Symposium for the year of 2008 focused on the issue of migration and its impact on China as a nation-state as well as on international society. During the decades of expansion of the liberal market economy and media, the term “globalization” has become familiar to explain the world-wide change, necessitating the creation of a “globalized” nation-state and its society. But when we see the multidimensional waves of migration, it does not seem sufficient to explain the reality simply by putting the adjective “globalized” in front of “nation-state”. I have used the term “global China”, rather than “globalized China”, in order to suggest the emergence of a new global community of the Chinese nation inside/outside of the country. SONODA Shigeto analyzes the increase of social fluidity in China and its domestic/global impact. ZHOU Min presents the historical development of Chinese international migration. WANG Chunguang proposes the right of “opportunity ownership” to counter the problem of inequality of new inhabitants in cities who come from rural areas. HAMASHITA Takeshi explains the historical process of Chinese migration and its impact on international regional orders in Asia. MORI Kazuko thoroughly overviews these presentations, and questions if it is necessary to bring a new paradigm shift in Chinese studies.
After the implentation of the Open Door policy, especially since the 1990s onward, increasing social fluidity has dramatically changed the basic traits of Chinese society. People have been able to attain higher social status through regional and occupational mobility, while at the same time institutions or social values that promote human mobility have gradually been created. This wave of mobility in China has had a global impact in terms of the increasing number of international students and the level of overseas migration. On the other hand, increasing numbers of foreign multinationals have come to China in search of good students and employees, which has accelerated both the inflow and outflow of transnational migration. In this process, a large number of social problems have emerged. The increasing number of peasant workers in urban China highlights contradictions in the registration system (hukou zhidu) and the seriousness of domestic regional inequality. The emergence of an equitable society necessitates the creation of a nationwide educational infrastructure which can guarantee fair competition among citizens. Local welfare policy should be coordinated to respond to increasing social fluidity and solve conflicts between local residents and the incoming population. Policies on international students and immigration vary from country to country, but many OECD countries are facing new challenges from their increasing numbers of Chinese residents. Intensifying global competition to recruit the best talent is producing greater social inequalities in China. A key factor in the future of Chinese society will be how foreign governments as well as local/central governments in China overcome such contradictions and challenges.
International migration among Chinese-ancestry people is centuries old. Long before European colonists set foot on the Asian continent, the Chinese moved across sea and land, seasonally or permanently, to other parts of Asia and the rest of the world to pursue better economic opportunities or alternative means of livelihood. They have now spread to more than 150 countries across the globe, with nearly 80% in Asia and 15% in the Americas. This article aims to examine how long-standing migrant communities and social networks interact with broad structural factors—colonization, or decolonization, nation-state building, and changes of political regimes—to shape the characteristics, processes, and directions of international migration. I argue that the distinct streams of emigration from China, and remigration from Chinese immigrant communities, are contingent upon the history, economy, and policy of both sending and receiving societies, as well as social developments in the Chinese diaspora. It is not solely up to the state to manage and control international migration; the power of ethnic institutions and social networks must be considered in policymaking.
This paper will analyze the rural population flow into cities by concentrating on a new concept of “opportunity ownership”. The institutional reforms of the past thirty years have greatly improved patterns of distribution of opportunities in China, and rural populations have come to enjoy more options to change their work and life. However, successive Chinese governments have ignored the importance of the right of “opportunity ownership”, and hence have been unable to provide consistent and rational institutional reforms. In other words, reforms have been always ad hoc and rural residents have not been provided with equal opportunities. Rural populations in cities tend to be segregated according to their original communities, and tend to “reproduce” and “rigidify” themselves. In this respect, there is an important and urgent need for rural populations in cities to protect their right of “opportunity ownership” as well as their property rights in order to promote their mobility and integration into host communities. It is also important to keep on examining the concept of “right of opportunity ownership” both theoretically and empirically.
Although globalization seems to be the most appropriate word to explain and understand the background and history of international Chinese migration, at the same time we need to pay attention to the various active tendencies of local and regional migration networks of overseas Chinese with inter-regional and internal home-remittance networks. In other words, we can say that the period of the nation-state and nationalism has greatly changed in recent decades and the traditional world order and world view based mainly on the nation-state has begun to be replaced by a multilayered and multilateral view of a changing world formed of global, regional, national and local levels. In the nineteenth century, Chinese international migration mainly consisted of the “coolie trade” due to the lack of laborers in Western countries and Western-owned colonies. Following the “coolie migration” period, the imperial regime started at around the turn of the century. During this period, overseas Chinese international migration was organized and controlled by regionally divided world powers, and overseas Chinese migration in particular was organized and influenced mostly by the British Empire. In addition to movement of laborers, overseas Chinese merchants joined in the wider economic activities such as shipping, insurance, trade and finance. In Asia, interregional relations between East Asia and Southeast Asia played an important role as a wider regional financial system with Hong Kong and Singapore as intermediary centers. Hence, international migration of overseas Chinese was influenced, organized and controlled mostly by “outside” factors such as economic and political changes. However, at the same time, private home-remittance networks by overseas Chinese also developed from within. These were private networks between Southeast Asia and South China and created a different basis for encouraging and managing the international migration of overseas Chinese. Home-remittance networks are a basic element of international migration networks and it is likely that more attention will be paid in the future to these private interregional and internal relations as a basis of the communal realm in the extended networks of local societies in Asia.
In contrast to the image of a “moving China” outlined by the four previous papers, this article inquires into the possibility of a “stable China”. The argument is that we can identify some elements of stubborn continuity behind the fast-changing façade of contemporary China. One such example is the hukou zhidu system (the system of residency permits) which has survived all the reforms of the past thirty years. Is there any useful model in conceptualizing these two seemingly contradictory aspects of contemporary China? The article offers four possible models, and suggests that the China-is-China model is the more promising.
This paper aims at examining the urban (Cairo)–rural (provincial) dichotomy in Egypt, by analyzing the income gap and income structure. Its results confirm the Cairo–provincial relation as the central axis in Egyptian society. However, contrary to conventional wisdom, this Cairo-provincial relation is characterized by asset inequality, and not by the disparity between the agricultural and urban industrial sectors.
This article aims to identify the types of contributions that area study specialists can offer based on the author’s reviews of two recent books published on Thai forests: Fujita, Wataru,Conserving the Forests by Using the Forests: Forest Conservation Policy and Locals’ Livelihood in Thailand (Kyoto University Press, 2008), and Kurashima, Takayuki, Deforestation of Thailand: Democratization in the 1990s and Political Mechanism (Akashi Shoten, 2008). In the United States, social scientific studies of natural resources are mostly conducted within the bounds of traditional disciplines (e.g. political science, geography, and anthropology). In Japan, however, area specialists play key roles. The two books reviewed in this article attempt to examine the social effects of resource management and policies in the Thai context. They are welcome additions to the literature and help to illuminate the politics of resource use and control. Fujita’s work, which is based on anthropological fieldwork in a northeastern village, examines not only the villagers’ perception and daily use of forest resources but also that of the local government officials. He argues that “soft protection” based on flexible local discretion characterizes the Thai way of resource management and is a realistic option for Thai society in managing its forests. Kurashima’s work, on the other hand, looks at policy change in the 1990s by asking why the Royal Forest Department (RFD) of Thailand failed to implement policies on forest encroachment by villagers despite their capacity to do so. He argues that the wave of democratization facilitated land reform and the transfer of forest reserves to “illegal” farmers residing in those forests. This process reduced the power of the RFD which was based primarily on the control of land. These two works demonstrate not only the variety of methods one can use in approaching resource problems, but also the unique strengths of area specialists who can provide “pre-analytic vision”.The article further highlights three specific contributions that area specialists can offer: (1) discovery of internal diversity beyond the usual categories such as “villagers” and “government”; (2) examination of the processes of subject formation that traces the emergence and changes of agents that are often treated in a static way; and (3) setting of the agenda as a worthwhile subject for investigation. The article concludes by discussing how knowledge of the specific can be meaningfully linked to a more holistic understanding of problems, and the nature of natural resources that forces researchers to transcend conventional barriers.