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Jean-Louis Rocca's admirably concise A Sociology of Modern China wears its scholarship lightly and paints an intimate and complex portrait of Chinese society, all the while avoiding clichés and simplifications. He delves into China's history and examines the country's many different social strata so as to better understand the enormous challenges and opportunities with which its people are confronted.
After discussing the long march toward reform and the crises along the way - among them the 1989 protests which culminated in the events in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere - Rocca dedicates the second half of the book to the major questions facing the country (or, at the very least, its political elites) today: new forms of social stratification; the interaction between the market and the state; growing individualism; and the pressures exerted by social conflict and political change. In eschewing culturalist visions, Rocca thoroughly and successfully deconstructs received wisdom about Chinese society to reveal a thriving nation and its people.
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Jean-Louis Rocca is a sociologist, Professor and Researcher at CERI Sciences-Po in Paris and at Tsingshua University in Beijing.
"Take an already gifted French scholar, put him in a Chinese university, and let him teach and research. The result is not simply a comprehensive and sympathetic treatment of Chinese society, faults and all, from the inside but also a redefinition of Chinese sociology for the rest of the world. Jean-Louis Rocca has set the parameters of future research and teaching about the rapidly changing Chinese society." -- David S. G. Goodman, Professor of Social History at Nanjing University, and Head of China Studies at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University
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