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Third-party-funded project

Project: Social stratification and political culture in contemporary urban China

Project management at the University of Würzburg:

Participating scientists:

Project manager Prof. Dr. Björn Alpermann and his team focus on the effects of stratification processes on political thought, with special regard to attitudes towards authority and participation.
China's urban society is currently undergoing rapid transformation in the course of economic modernization. This constitutes a severe test for the country's social cohesion. The party-state has to face this challenge and is now trying to counteract centrifugal tendencies. Thus, in order to stabilize its social base, the Chinese Communist Party has as a sociopolitical target the generation of a new middle class. The stability of the political system in future will depend on how the new as well as existing social groups handle their ascent or descent within the social hierarchy as such changes can have an effect on political thought and normative concepts.

As a starting point, Prof. Dr. Alpermann and his team center their research on the changes to social identity within the current process of social restructuring. They employ an open-ended, qualitative methodological approach. In the project's first stage narrative interviews with particular social groups such as urban workers and unemployed former workers are being conducted. Later in the research process this empirical base will be expanded to enable comparison with other social groups and between different cities. The Institute for Sociology at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences is assisting the team in conducting the field research.

Key words:
    social stratification
    political culture

Projekt period: from 03.2010 to 02.2014

Funding institution:
Bund ( BMBF ) ,Granting date: 01.03.2010


Research Network "Governance in China"