Old-age pensions and life course in rural China : the emergence of modern retirement?

Shi S-J (2007)
Bielefeld (Germany): Bielefeld University.

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Bielefeld Dissertation | English
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Leisering, Lutz (Prof., Ph.D.)
Abstract
Since the outset of the economic and social reforms in 1978, rural China has been undergoing fundamental changes in view of the relationship between the state, society and the individual. Social policy, not least pension policy for rural residents, has been an essential factor in this transformation process influencing the life chances of many peasants. This study deals with the relationship between social policy and individual life courses in the context of the Chinese reform process. By studying the rural pension policy, the study focuses on the power of social policy in shaping the life planning of social actors, testifying to the nexus between social institutions and human lives - first established by European life-course research for Western societies - in rural China. Main arguments of this study are that the introduction of the rural pension policy has led to the emergence of a modern "life course", namely an institutionalized temporal structuration of the life span and related orientations of action on the part of Chinese peasants. Modern "life course" denotes the emergence of a temporal partition between work and retirement. The traditional idea of ceaseless toil until death is giving way to a conscious arrangement for a life phase after work. The institutionalization of a life course is a crucial aspect of modernization in which the state policy plays a pivotal role. Both social security and life course have become formative institutions in present-day rural China. This study integrates theoretical insights from European life-course research which emphasizes the close relationship between social security institutions and the life course. Based on expert interviews and biographical interviews with peasants conducted in selected areas of rural China, this study seeks to trace the institutional development of rural pensions and to identify the variety of ensuing life-course patterns by constructing a typology of individual life courses with regard to securing old age. Furthermore, in order to explore the interaction process between pension policy and the life course, this study constructs a second typology that elucidates the diversity of meaning peasants attach to the biographical significance of pensions in their individual life arrangements. The theoretical and methodological application of the life-course approach sheds new light on a neglected aspect of both the institutional and the individual dimension of the modernization process in rural China.
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Cite this

Shi S-J. Old-age pensions and life course in rural China : the emergence of modern retirement?. Bielefeld (Germany): Bielefeld University; 2007.
Shi, S. - J. (2007). Old-age pensions and life course in rural China : the emergence of modern retirement?. Bielefeld (Germany): Bielefeld University.
Shi, S. - J. (2007). Old-age pensions and life course in rural China : the emergence of modern retirement? Bielefeld (Germany): Bielefeld University.
Shi, S.-J., 2007. Old-age pensions and life course in rural China : the emergence of modern retirement?, Bielefeld (Germany): Bielefeld University.
S.-J. Shi, Old-age pensions and life course in rural China : the emergence of modern retirement?, Bielefeld (Germany): Bielefeld University, 2007.
Shi, S.-J.: Old-age pensions and life course in rural China : the emergence of modern retirement? Bielefeld University, Bielefeld (Germany) (2007).
Shi, Shih-Jiunn. Old-age pensions and life course in rural China : the emergence of modern retirement?. Bielefeld (Germany): Bielefeld University, 2007.
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