Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

The new Chinese middle class on the run  
Fanni Beck (Central European University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper adopts a transnational perspective to avoid methodological nationalism that tends to dominate research on the middle class by focusing on the new Chinese middle class as it spreads over the globe to take shelter in unlikely destinations such as Hungary.

Paper long abstract:

Between 2013 and 2017 over 18000 Chinese citizens, mostly mothers with young children took advantage of a golden visa immigration scheme offered by the Hungarian government. Arriving from megacities such as Beijing or Shanghai, these middle-class families chose Budapest despite its lowly ranking in developmental imaginaries of global hierarchy in the hope of securing a mentally and physically healthier environment for their offspring. Taking this path articulates a position that sidesteps or even criticizes the norms and values of contemporary Chinese society by explicitly rejecting the competitive and commodified pursuit of success. These migrants’ aspirations for freer lifestyles and postmaterial values is imbued with contradictions and is often coupled with a “pro-globalisation anti-liberal” stance (Zhang, 2019) that approves of Hungary’s hard-right politics directed against refugees, domestic ethnic minorities, and the poor. These contradictions form a complicated web of ideologies, for the capturing of which child-rearing provides a fecund entry point.

Focusing on one of the most important institutions of the middle class: the family, the proposed research aims to capture the light this qualitatively new type of non-economic migration casts on the harsh social consequences of China’s swift economic development, enacted by its celebrated emerging middle class. The flight of the new Chinese middle-class represents a shift in the long history of how Chinese migrants interact with the world and relate to China as it is reflected in the intimate lives of families: a turn from economic accumulation oriented toward future success to postmaterialist pursuits reorienting emphasis on the presence.

Panel P012b
The middle classes under rising authoritarianism and economic unevenness: between great expectations and lost illusions
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -