Village Governance in North China, 1875-1936

Village Governance in North China, 1875-1936

eBook - 2005
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A study of village governance in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century China that reinterprets peasant behavior, village community, and state-society relations.

This book is about village governance in China during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Drawing on government archives from Huailu county, Hebei province, it explores local practices and official systems of social control, land taxation, and "self government" at the village level. Its analysis of peasant behaviors bridges the gap between the rational choice and moral economy models by taking into account both material and symbolic dimensions of power and interest in the peasant community. The author's interpretation of village/state relations before 1900 transcends the state and society dichotomy and accentuates the interplay between formal and informal institutions and practices. His account of "state making" after 1900 underscores the continuity of endogenous arrangements in the course of institutional formalization and the interpenetration between official discourse and popular notions in the new process of political legitimization.

Book News
Li (history, U. of Missouri, Columbia) draws on the historical archives of Huailu county, Hebei province, which he has found to be perhaps the best collection on land taxation and village administration that has consistent coverage of the late Qing and Republican periods. He is particular interested in case records documenting disputes between villagers over local affairs such as community service, tax payments, village, government, and education. Rather than the conventional image of Chinese peasants engaged in popular protest, collective violence, and mass mobilization, he portrays them cooperating for the good of the whole community while confronting each other over their respective rights and obligations. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 2005
ISBN: 9781423716679
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xii, 325 pages) : maps
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