This book provides fresh insights into the study of Chinese elites at the county level and below. By shifting the analytical focus onto the agency of elites at the local level and away from the institutional structures within which they operate, it fills a number of significant gaps in the field.
In particular, this book addresses the lacunae through an empirically rich and diverse set of case studies. It proceeds from the premise that the study of local elites can be most fruitful through examining their relations with each other and with the groups that wield power in the community. Particularly pertinent to the analyses are three major relations, namely the relationship between the elites and their environment, between particular types of elites, and between the locality and the upper and lower scales. Ultimately, it concludes that these relations are not only essential to understanding local elites in post-Mao China but also in accounting for socio-political change and in distinguishing China from other types of societies.
As a study of local elites in China, this book will be useful to students and scholars of Chinese politics, political sociology and Chinese Studies in general.