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PREFACE

图书名称:Re-Drawing Boundaries: Work, Households, and Gender in China
图书作者:Barbara Entwisle and Gail E. Henderson    ISBN:
出版社:Berkeley: University of California Press    出版日期:2000年

PREFACE

This volume is based on papers, commentary, and discussion from the conference “Gender, Households, and the Boundaries of Work in Contemporary China,” held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in October 1996. Four conference sessions were organized around four questions about work, households, and gender in China; this structure underlies the four sections of this volume. The specific questions addressed were:

  1. What is work? What are the views of social science scholars? What are the views of Chinese men and women?
  2. How have gender inequalities in work changed over the course of recent history in China?
  3. How has migration affected interrelationships among households, gender, and work?
  4. How do families and households influence and how are they influenced by the organization of work?

The conference was multidisciplinary, as is this book. Participants represented a variety of disciplinary perspectives: anthropology, demography, economics, history, and sociology. Why did we design the conference in this way? As we looked at the literature on gender, households, and the boundaries of work in China, we found scholars in different fields applying theoretical and interpretive models to certain types of data with certain methodologies and communicating their insights and results to audiences already familiar with these same models, data, and methodologies. An explicit goal of the conference was to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines to improve communication; to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and complementarities of their approaches; and to compare the results of their work.

Diversity in disciplinary perspective is reflected in the variety of data and methods used. Approximately half of the chapters are qualitative in orientation, basing their analyses on historical documents, participatory field research, in-depth interviews, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions. The other chapters take a quantitative approach, using social survey and census data. The chapters report on diverse study sites as well, as shown in map 1. Included are the three metropolitan provinces—Shanghai, Beijing, and Tianjin— and urban and rural areas in ten other provinces and autonomous regions: Guangxi, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Shandong, Shaanxi, and Zhejiang. Links between chapters largely involve thematic issues of work, households, and gender rather than data or methods per se, although there is some overlap in this regard for some chapters.

Shared topical focus and strong unifying themes help counterbalance this diversity. The conference generated a genuine sense of excitement about the topic and collegiality among participants. Part of the reason it worked so well was the innovative format, which assigned a larger than usual role to discussants and is reflected in the organization of this volume. The format for the conference emphasized both in-depth discussion of individual papers as well as more general and integrative discussion of papers in relation to one another. During the first morning, participants in each of the four sessions met separately for small-group discussion. Discussants provided detailed critiques of individual papers at this time. Authors also commented on each other's papers, which they had been asked to read in detail. These discussions were lively, interesting, and generative. All conference participants met together in the afternoon of the first day, and for the remaining one-and-a-half days of the conference. A half day was devoted to each of the four sessions. Papers had been made available in advance of the conference, so authors limited themselves to short, ten-minute summaries. Discussants followed, bringing out important perspectives and findings of individual papers and emphasizing general issues and unifying themes for the session. We include these remarks in the present volume at the end of the relevant section. One of the benefits of attending a conference is the opportunity to hear the discussant as well as general discussion. Authors have incorporated the detailed suggestions made by the discussants in the revised versions of their papers. The more general commentaries of the discussants are provided so that all can benefit from their larger view and insights.




Map 1. Provinces included in studies by contributors.

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