chapter  5
Homeowner subjectivity and social stratification
Pages 16

This chapter maps cultural productions and sociopolitical discourses that represent, question, and debate the subjectivity and social status of homeowners/homebuyers. The homeowners occupy a middle position between the bureaucratic and business elite on the one end and the lower class on the other. It allows them to take on a fluid subjectivity: it identifies with the working class or weak group in their boyi game with the elites but becomes elitist or "middle class". The complex cultural productions signaled a process of social stratification in postsocialist China. The social stratification along the lines of rent-seeking mechanism and property ownership seems to have radically departed from the relatively egalitarian society of the socialist era towards a pattern of class formation similar to that in the developed countries. Within the newly urbanized treaty ports, such as Shanghai, the social stratification took form that resembled those found in other industrialized societies.