This book presents a systematic study of social stratification processes in urban China, from 1949 to 1994. Based on the life histories of a sample of urban residents from 20 Chinese cities, this book addresses two themes: (1) the interplay between redistribution and social stratification under state socialism in urban China, especially the impact of the state and state policies on individual life chances, in such areas as education, labor force participation, promotion in organizations, and the distribution of manifest and latent economic benefits; (2) an assessment of sources and extent of China's economic transformation since the 1980s. The author blends sociological analysis and sensitivity to the historical context in interpreting changes and continuity in the 45-year history of state socialist China. This is a comprehensive and rigorous study of social stratification in China.

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