This book deploys and develops the notion of voice in an investigation of China’s rapidly reshuffling society. The book is structured around two aspects of the voicing process in contemporary China: (1) stratification of voice, which addresses the stabilizing condition of voice; and (2) restratification of voice that draws attention to the dynamics of the system of which the order is reshuffling and not yet apparent. This structure allows us to unveil the hidden forces played out in the voice making process and to stratifying and re-stratifying process of contemporary Chinese society in which some people are making themselves heard whereas others are losing voice.
Despite its importance and usefulness, voice has been under theorized in recent decades. The ambitions of this book therefore are to invest serious efforts in developing the notion and to position it in the center of the theoretical toolkits available to students and scholars within and outside sociolinguistics.