Call for Papers - Rural China under Xi: Change, Continuity and Contradictions

Call for Papers - Rural China under Xi: Change, Continuity and Contradictions

8 March 2022

Call for Papers
Rural China under Xi: Change, Continuity and Contradictions
Tuesday 30th August 2022, Oxford University,
UK Nissan Lecture Theatre, St Antony's College Asian Studies Centre St Antony's College

Conference theme

In a span of a generation, rural China has undergone a dramatic transformation: infrastructure – ranging from roads to electricity grids – has been constructed; the majority of rural residents are covered through basic health care and pension programs; and “extreme poverty” has been eradicated. These are remarkable improvements from the late 1970s, when China’s economic reforms began with the launch of a new agricultural land lease system in a poverty-stricken village. At the same time, the Chinese countryside is still facing major challenges such as environmental pollution, rural education, and the hollowing out of villages’ socio-demographic and economic structure.

Today, more than 4 decades later since the economic reforms started, the Chinese state is headed by President Xi Jinping, arguably, the nation’s strongest leader since Mao Zedong. Under his administration, the Chinese countryside has become the next political priority. For him, rural revitalization is “a major task in realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”, a strategy proposed as a key move for the development of a modernized rural economy. To realize this, the Chinese state has been working to foster rural industries and services, promote the application of new technologies, and build a “beautiful countryside”. In addition, peasants and citizens are being pressed to repopulate the villages with new entrepreneurs and consumers, after these had been left behind during the massive rural-urban migrations of the 1990s and 2000s.

Against this critical backdrop, ICARDC XVI invites papers (8-10,000 words) for an SSCI-rated special journal issue around the theme “Rural China under Xi.” In this volume we aim to take stock of and examine the changes, continuities and contradictions that have occurred in the Chinese countryside since the Xi administration assumed power. In this context, we are interested in topics, which include but are not limited to:
1. Livelihoods, rural-urban migration and linkages, rural entrepreneurship, social conflict, and social networks;
2. Globalization and commodification, and how these processes have affected and are being affected by Chinese agricultural and rural development;
3. Theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding Chinese rural-urban relations, and their implications for institutions, systems and organizations; 2
4. The complexities, diversity and dynamics of the rural-urban ‘divide’ and/or its ’integration’ across time and space in China;
5. Historical experiences of rural industrialization, rural urbanization, and poverty alleviation in China and in a comparative perspective;
6. Socio-economic, political and ethno-cultural contexts and how these have sustained, reproduced or reshaped kinship, family, and gender relations;
7. Recent and historical processes of environmental change, natural resources, and ecological degradation in rural China;

A selection of contributors will be invited to present their draft paper at the next ICARDC gathering to be held at Oxford University on Tuesday 30 August 2022. ICARDC aims to bring together leading as well as talented young scholars from various disciplines – sociology, political science, economics, anthropology, geography, law, and related disciplines. ICARDC will be hosted shortly before the annual BACS conference (British Association of Chinese Studies) allowing those interested in other issues of contemporary China to attend.

Abstract, papers, and publication If you are interested in contributing a paper, please send us an abstract of 300 words, outlining the following: innovation; research problem or issue; methodology and data sources; main argument; discussion/conclusion; and proposed paper structure. Please include author name(s), a short bio, list of 5 key publications, and where available citation data.

Interested participants are kindly asked to submit the abstract before 30 March 2022.
Those whose abstracts have been accepted, will be invited to present their paper, which needs to be submitted no later than 30 July 2022 (see: planning below). The abstract can be emailed to and Selected papers will be considered for inclusion in an SSCI-rated special journal issue. Please note that all papers will be subject to the regular peer-review.

Submission deadlines and guidelines:
 30 March 2022: Submission and selection of abstracts
 30 July 2022: Submission of draft paper
 30 August 2022: ICARDC XVI seminar: feedback on draft papers
 15 October 2022: Submission of revised papers and external revie