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Day 1 16:15 Panel 9

Social Transformations

Upper Hall

Zhang Wenjun/Huang Tianqi, Xiao Yao, Zhang Nannan, Ma Ye

Zhang Wenjun/Huang Tianqi

Peking University, Year 1 Master in Sociology/University of Cambridge Year 1 phd in Sociology

This research studies the transition of apprenticeship in hairdressing industry in Song County, Shandong Province in China, from the perspective of Practice theory. Qualitative methods were adopted, including semi-structured interview and non-participant observation. In this study, 13 barbers were observed and 22 hairdressers were interviewed. We find that the master-apprentice relationship has gradually changed from a quasi-family relationship to a quasi-corporation relationship and from the construction of affection to that of profit, from 1990 to 2017. Before 2000, the quasi-family relationship was dominated and then it gradually transformed to the quasi-corporation relationship. This change in relationship reflects the transformations of the entire social structure: the flow of rural areas, the embeddedness of markets, and the openness of skills.

The paper clarifies three concepts, namely obligation, affection and profit, and further offers a new analytical framework. This framework, “obligation–affection–profit”, gives concern to the attributes of the relationships. Through the discussion of the transitional apprenticeship, we can find that the quasi-family relationship is essentially a kind of "affective relationship of obligation and profit" based on "identity"; and the quasi-corporation relationship is expressed as an "instrumental relationship of obligation and profit" based on "exchange". Moreover, within the current interactions between mentors and apprentices, there are two kinds of logic: "Bifu" and "Lizu". Bifu, which responds to the culture, shows that individuals usually attach themselves to others through one or two kinds of relationships, and the teacher-student relationship comparing to the father-son relationship is one example. Lizu, responding to the structure, demonstrates that apprentices gain resources to take root in a community or industry through their masters’ affection and profits. Returning to practice, for industries that are in the transitional process, there is still a need to resolve the tension between the traditional apprenticeship and the modern one to achieve the appropriateness.

Xiao Yao

University of Edinburgh, Year 2 PhD in Chinese Studies

The residents’ committee and the villagers’ committee in China’s local food safety regulation

Food safety is currently one of the most concerning social issues in China, and the Chinese government has been working hard to design an effective supervision system. Regulatory agencies at the grassroots level introduce the residents’ committee and the villagers’ committee into the supervision system. On the basis of interview data with officials in Beijing city, Tianjin city, and Hunan province, this paper examines the impact of their participation.

The residents’ committee and the villagers’ committee do contribute to collecting information relevant with food safety to a certain extent. As autonomous organizations, their staff have strong informal relationship with residents and villagers in the community. This paper will illustrate how this relationship was built and can benefit food safety regulation. However, there is a potential threat that committees’ involvement in food safety regulation damages informal relationship in the long term. This is because while the staff in committees take the role of assistant regulators, residents gradually regard them more as inspectors from the government. Simultaneously, committees with sufficient funding hire more young people living outside the community to take increasing regulatory tasks, who do not have close contact with local residents before. This paper argues that the loss of informal relationship in the regulatory process will eventually have negative effects to these committees on fields far beyond food safety and turn these committees to be more bureaucratic. Other disadvantages concerning their participation will also be discussed, including lack of legal authority, insufficient economic and political incentives, unprofessional workforce, and weak collaborative networks, which further limit committees’ ability to gather information and verify suspicious danger. Overall, this research presents the dilemma when these autonomous organizations are required to take official administrative responsibilities in China’s local governance.

Zhang Nannan

University of Cambridge, philosophy PHD candidate in Renming University of China, joint PHD student in department of sociology of University of Cambridge.

Chinese Cultural Modernity

The rise of China is not only about the growth of economic strength the expansion of political influence, but also the formation of Chinese cultural modernity. Through the analysis of the evolution of the terms of modernity, this paper emphasizes the development and changes of modernity terms have not escaped from the framework of Marxist dialectics from the negation of modernity (the return of tradition), the negation of negation (reflective modernity) ,and the inevitability of the establishment of pluralistic modernity. At the same time, the formation of Chinese cultural modernity in the past hundred years(from 1949-now)also contains profound dialectics. We should not regard the development of modernity as linear, but as dialectical. The formation of Chinese cultural modernity is not only the confirmation of pluralistic modernity, but also the possibility of a modern society which deviating from the historical form of capitalism. China has entered a new era, Xi Jinping's series of policies and a series of fashionable terms, such as cultural self-confidence and characteristic socialist culture, show that the road of exploring Chinese cultural modernity is entering a mature stage. Taking China as the method, it is not only the confirmation of particularity, but also the beginning of universality.

Ma Ye

First Year Phd, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge


The ‘modernism’ of ‘Elegant Gathering’ 雅集in East Asian Art

Ma Ye

First Year Phd, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge

“Elegant gathering”(yaji雅集) is a centuries-old theme which could be traced back to the Tang dynasty. As one of the responses to the local receptions of Confucianism, the theme was later developed into a universal East Asian tradition shared by both Japanese and Korean. From the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century, ‘elegant gathering’ expanded from a literati exclusive theme to a more popularly accepted art form in the dawn light of ‘modernism’.This presentation investigates how painters took advantage of the classical forms to declare a distinctively new statement catering for different social background and intended audience, exemplified by the works of Ren Bonian任伯年 (1840-1896), Kim Hongdo金弘道 (1745-1814) and Kawanabe Gyōsai 河鍋曉齋(1831-1889)

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