Based on a survey of ‘off-duty workers’ in Guangzhou, this paper explores the changing structure of social support in China. It focuses on the material aid and guidance in job search received by these workers. It concludes that while the state and its enterprises still play an important role in workers’ economic life, informal social networks have become more pertinent. These social support networks reduce workers’ dependence on the state and provide a social buffer for the transformation of state socialism into market socialism. They also imply a revival of autonomous space in a society that will have more resources to negotiate with the state in the future.
When the lifeboat is overloaded: social support and state enterprise reform in China1
This survey is a part of a 1997 National Social Science Project ‘Problems and Solutions of Off-duty Workers in State Enterprises’. The project was carried out by the collective efforts of the Social Development Research Institute at Zhongshan University, Guangzhou Labor Department and the Guangzhou Federation of Social Sciences. An early version of this paper was presented in the 10th International Conference on Socio-Economics held in Vienna from July 13 to 16, 1998. The authors would like to express their gratitude to Deborah Davis for her comments during the revision of the paper. Another version of this paper appeared in Shehuixue Yanjiu 1998, 4, 31–37 (Qiu, Chan and Ren, 1998).
- Views Icon Views
- PDF LinkPDF
- Share Icon Share
- Tools Icon Tools
- Search Site
Kin-man Chan, Haixiong Qiu; When the lifeboat is overloaded: social support and state enterprise reform in China. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 1 September 1999; 32 (3): 305–318. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0967-067X(99)00015-X
Download citation file: