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Job Change in Urban China

An Assessment of Socialist Employment Relationship


Hanlin Li

The book tries to answer one straightforward and real life question: why people want to change jobs in urban China. The principal motif of this book is to uncover and analyze the social processes and structural constructions in those seemingly individual decisions to leave a job. The question raised here has been, to a large extent, neglected in sociology but it may not be as trivial as it appears at first glance. Conceptually, it bears on various sociological concerns. Empirically, many of the sociological perspectives and methodologies are particularly well-suited to a fuller understanding of job change phenomena. This book has three major parts. Part I overviews the literature and assesses its theoretical relevance to our China job change study; Part II specifies the historical and social contexts wherein our survey is only «a snap shot»; and Part III presents our research procedures, findings, and the path model. The final chapter is a discussion of sociological implication of this study. It is centered around an assessment of socialist employment relationship: the diversity and fragmentation of a seemingly formidable centralized labour system, the central importance of one's workplace, and the paternalist characteristic of the system. Questions for further exploration have also been raised.
Contents: Theoretical Perspectives and Job Change Models - Working in Urban China - Toward an Interpretation of Job Changes - Conclusion.