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postgraduate thesis: "Criminal village" : cake uncle and cake delivery in rural China

Title"Criminal village" : cake uncle and cake delivery in rural China
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Bakken, B
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Zhang, X. [张希]. (2013). "Criminal village" : cake uncle and cake delivery in rural China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5066210
AbstractWith the study of cake uncles and cake delivery in rural areas of southern China, this thesis intends to explore how peasants become criminals and how criminal villages emerge during the rapidly emerging process of modernization in China since the economic reforms started in the late 1970s. The fieldwork of this study took place in Fang town, Ning county, in a southern province in China. In order to protect the identity of the informants and interviewees, Fang town and Ning county are not the real names of the town and the country in question. Through the study of a criminal town, I intend to demonstrate how crime is socially and economically produced in contemporary China. The methodology of this study is based on grounded theory, and aims to find out “what is going on” in rural China. In this study I have applied various ways to collect data including interviewing, participant-observation, use of the blogosphere and online forum contents, reading of local chronicles, yearbooks and horizontally inscribed boards and tablets. This study examines the formation of a criminal village. After the dismantling of the commune system, the peasants are encouraged to pursue their personal interests, but the excluded social position they find themselves in has the limited access of legal and moral opportunities to gain social acceptance and material wealth. The peasants had to “innovate” by using illegal ways to become rich. The clansmen relationships and fellow townsmen relationships turn into a channel for the motivated peasants to learn the scams of cake uncle activities. The mismatch between the “Chinese dream” and the blocked opportunities for the peasants to reach this social and material goal morally and legally is producing crime in China. Crime becomes an alternative approach for the peasants to break their condition of social exclusion. This study also shows the unique culture of cake uncles and how the culture of cake uncles changes the mainstream culture in the village. The cake uncles are forming an entrepreneurial culture and class because of their relative modern lifestyle and values, the cake uncles are in fact modernizers–moral and material modernizers –of this rural society. The traditional social relations, values and norms are changing after the emergence of cake delivery. This study also demonstrates the neutralization tactics of the cake uncles. Religion has a dual effect on the peasants and the cake uncles. On one hand, religion prevents ordinary peasants from committing crime, on the other hand, religion is used by cake uncles to get rid of moral pressure. To sum up, this study provides a unique angle from which to see the modernizing of China, especially rural China. Crime becomes a useful tool for the peasants to reach the Chinese dream of wealth and respect, the traditional rural society is modernized rapidly, and crime is neutralized in part by the use of traditional values and religion.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectCriminals - China
Dept/ProgramSociology
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/216095

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorBakken, B-
dc.contributor.authorZhang, Xi-
dc.contributor.author张希-
dc.date.accessioned2015-08-21T23:11:32Z-
dc.date.available2015-08-21T23:11:32Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationZhang, X. [张希]. (2013). "Criminal village" : cake uncle and cake delivery in rural China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5066210-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/216095-
dc.description.abstractWith the study of cake uncles and cake delivery in rural areas of southern China, this thesis intends to explore how peasants become criminals and how criminal villages emerge during the rapidly emerging process of modernization in China since the economic reforms started in the late 1970s. The fieldwork of this study took place in Fang town, Ning county, in a southern province in China. In order to protect the identity of the informants and interviewees, Fang town and Ning county are not the real names of the town and the country in question. Through the study of a criminal town, I intend to demonstrate how crime is socially and economically produced in contemporary China. The methodology of this study is based on grounded theory, and aims to find out “what is going on” in rural China. In this study I have applied various ways to collect data including interviewing, participant-observation, use of the blogosphere and online forum contents, reading of local chronicles, yearbooks and horizontally inscribed boards and tablets. This study examines the formation of a criminal village. After the dismantling of the commune system, the peasants are encouraged to pursue their personal interests, but the excluded social position they find themselves in has the limited access of legal and moral opportunities to gain social acceptance and material wealth. The peasants had to “innovate” by using illegal ways to become rich. The clansmen relationships and fellow townsmen relationships turn into a channel for the motivated peasants to learn the scams of cake uncle activities. The mismatch between the “Chinese dream” and the blocked opportunities for the peasants to reach this social and material goal morally and legally is producing crime in China. Crime becomes an alternative approach for the peasants to break their condition of social exclusion. This study also shows the unique culture of cake uncles and how the culture of cake uncles changes the mainstream culture in the village. The cake uncles are forming an entrepreneurial culture and class because of their relative modern lifestyle and values, the cake uncles are in fact modernizers–moral and material modernizers –of this rural society. The traditional social relations, values and norms are changing after the emergence of cake delivery. This study also demonstrates the neutralization tactics of the cake uncles. Religion has a dual effect on the peasants and the cake uncles. On one hand, religion prevents ordinary peasants from committing crime, on the other hand, religion is used by cake uncles to get rid of moral pressure. To sum up, this study provides a unique angle from which to see the modernizing of China, especially rural China. Crime becomes a useful tool for the peasants to reach the Chinese dream of wealth and respect, the traditional rural society is modernized rapidly, and crime is neutralized in part by the use of traditional values and religion.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshCriminals - China-
dc.title"Criminal village" : cake uncle and cake delivery in rural China-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5066210-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineSociology-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5066210-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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