The China 2001 Summer Fieldwork team participated in an undergraduate symposium in Asian studies organized and hosted by the Asian Studies Program at Marietta College on September 20-22, 2001. This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to present their preliminary results based on this past summer’s fieldwork and to exchange ideas with peers and faculty from outside Butler. Butler Anthropology junior Abby Pickens also came with the China 2001 team to Marietta to present a paper. In addition to our Butler students, there were students from Notre Dame, Bowling Green, Mount Union College, and Marietta presenting a wide array of papers from a variety of disciplines. We would like to thank our host, Prof. Matthew Young of Marietta, for this wonderful opportunity.
In the picture above, the students are listening to the welcoming open forum on “China and the 2008 Olympics” with panelists from China (3 faculty, 3 students).
The People’s Space: Creating Civil Society in Globalized China
Jeffrey S. Payne
Political Science, Butler University
Head of a Neighborhood Association, Shanghai
Winds of change have drastically changed the People’s Republic of China over the past twenty years. In 1978, China officially opened its doors to global exchange. Almost instantly the transfer of capital, technologies, and ideas overwhelmed China. The militaristic qualities of the state became increasingly vital to the efficiency of the state, as new sectors were born that seemingly threatened state authority. Much of the state’s obsession for control was directed towards the segments of agency that act independently from the state, but operate under the credo of civil service. This segment of society, referred to as civil society, was effectively weeded out of the Chinese story for the past several decades, but now as globalization has firmly rooted itself within China there is a real possibility that civil society could emerge within China’s industrial labor class. A range of topics such as Chinese state corporatism, the impact of foreign businesses inside China, the interpretation of civil society in a Chinese cultural context, and the ability for any labor organization to gain agency will be investigated. Emerging from these topics will be the conclusion that civil society must be redefined for a Chinese context. The creation of Chinese industrial labor unions does not precipitate that complete autonomy from state authority must occur, but rather these unions and eventually civil society as a whole could operate under pseudo-autonomy. A political environment where the state allows for unions to truly represent their constituents and unions seek to be included within the state bureaucratic system must be sought out. Only then will there be any possibility of forming cooperation between the forces of the state and civil society and for the existence of civil society to firmly root itself within Chinese culture.
More than Just a Cup of Tea: Marketing Starbuck’s and Other American Businesses in China
International Management, Butler University
Starbucks outlet in the old Chinese district, Shanghai
China’s enormous market has led many American companies to take their business into China. With this increase in foreign business in China, domestic competitors are feeling the effects on their profit. Based on fieldwork done in Shanghai, China in the summer of 2001 and examinations of marketing case studies from other business firms, this paper will examine the effects of globalization in China to evaluate competition between Chinese and American companies. As younger generations in China push for a more western, consumer-oriented culture and the Chinese government implements reform according to WTO regulations, American companies will become even more successful in China. Starbucks is already taking business away from traditional Chinese teahouses and Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola have the largest share in the soda market in China. Chinese businesses, however, do have the ability to compete with the American companies if they change the way they do business. Globalization right now may be putting a strain on Chinese companies, but in the future it will cause these companies to improve their business and their profit.
For The Love of Noise:Globalization and the Birth of Death Metal in Urban China
Anthropology, Butler University
“Boy Band” dancing as part of an advertisement campaign, Nanjing Road, Shanghai
China is becoming an increasingly globalized nation. Transnational influences are greatly shaping China’s social structure and cultural practices. As a result many people are struggling to find their identity within the context of globalization. A whole generation of youth must find and create their own identities in the presence of loosening government restrictions, increasing social freedoms and encroaching western culture. One of the most defining characteristics of these youths identities is the music they choose to listen to. Many have chosen their identities amongst the back drop of popular culture. Some of these men and women, however, have decided to turn their back on pop culture. This conscious decision places them outside of contemporary society and essentially defines them as a counter-culture group. As a marginalized and almost alienated faction, these young men and women make conscious efforts to distinguish themselves from the conformity of regular society. The growing popularity of death metal (grunge music) has created an outlet for marginalized youth. CD covers, music videos and even live performances have helped to create a shared and distinct style of rock fans. The fashions and attitudes presented by this type of music have spawned the creation of a distinct sub-culture. This culture is greatly influenced by western music. The popular death metal and grunge bands of the early 1990s have been critical in influencing the music styles of Chinese rock artists. This has led many to believe that Chinese artists are imitating western music trends. Although Chinese death metal musicians have relied on western music for inspiration, it is far from imitation. Chinese artists are beginning to make death metal a distinctly Chinese form of music. In this way, globalization has spawned the creation of a new genre of music by influencing its style and format.
Shanghai Baby: Selling Sex in a Global Economy
Anthropology, Butler University
Women entertainers in a hotel bar, waiting for clients, Shanghai
Modern China is in the process of immense and dramatic change in the battle to survive in a new global economy. Shanghai has become an immerging center for foreign commerce and as a result is experiencing an influx of immigrant workers from rural areas in China. Many of these immigrants are women in search of new lives and opportunities, but, unfortunately, they are often met with the harsh reality of being a rural outsider on the fridges of a growing urban society. After living in Shanghai for less than a week, I became very interested in the links between globalization and the increase of rural migration. I wanted to find out how these things are affecting women workers. I focused my fieldwork on the sex industry in Shanghai, relying on both discussions with women within the industry as well as thoughts on prostitution from men and women outside the industry. I felt this approach would give me a fuller and more diverse view of the subject. While visiting a local hotel KTV (karaoke) lounge, I met a young woman working as an entertainer. Her official job was merely to keep the patrons company by entertaining them with conversation, ordering their drinks, lighting cigarettes, and dancing with them. However, she told me that she is often asked to do sexual favors in exchange for money. Though she stressed she did not have intercourse with her costumers, she said that it was not uncommon for the women working in the club to do so. When I asked her how she had come to work in the club, she explained to me that she had immigrated from Sichuan province after being fired from her factory job. I decided to pursue this connection after talking to three more women with similar stories. All of these women were young with minimal education, and they had all immigrated to Shanghai after losing their factory jobs. Globalization has played a large role in the development of Shanghai’s economy, however much of rural China cannot compete against this kind of economic development. The resulting economic inequality between rural and urban increases the appeal of areas such a Shanghai for rural workers. These relationships between globalization, rural migration, and the sex industry in China form the basis of my research and draw attention to the paradoxical nature of globalization, which has the power not only to create but also to destroy.
Matt, Jeff, and Liz listening to a paper presentation.
Liz talking to the symposium keynote speaker Prof. Robert Hegel, Washington University, St. Louis.
Jeff giving his paper at Marietta College.
Becca giving her paper at Marietta College.
Matt giving his paper at Marietta College.
Liz giving her paper at Marietta College.