Creating Wealth and Poverty in China


Date and Time

March 9, 2006 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Philippines Conference Room

In the run-up to the Olympics, China is a country of contradictions. On one hand, market reforms since 1980 have radically improved living standards across the vast country and dramatically decreased the levels of absolute poverty. On the other hand, the distribution of income and wealth has become more unequal, hard-core urban poverty has returned, and there are new concentrations of enormous wealth among a small minority. Drawing on fieldwork and survey results collected since 1998, Professor Davis will discuss how the accelerated commodification of assets and the internationalization of capital have re-shaped accumulation of material and non-material rewards at individual and group levels. In concluding, she addresses competing hypotheses about class formation and consolidation of privilege.

Deborah S. Davis (Ph.D. Boston University, 1979) is a Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Her primary teaching interests are historical and comparative sociology, inequality and stratification, contemporary Chinese society, and methods of fieldwork. Davis is currently a member of the National Committee on US China Relations and serves on the editorial boards of The European Journal of East Asian Studies, Social Forces and the new Yale China Health Journal. Past publications have analyzed the politics of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese family life, social welfare, class cleavages and occupational mobility. She is currently completing two books: A Home of Their Own, a study of the social consequences of privatization of real estate in Shanghai and Wealth and Poverty in China Today, proceedings from conference held at Yale on how recent Chinese experiences challenge prevailing sociological analysis of inequality and stratification. She also is actively involved in research and advocacy work in response to the AIDS epidemic in China.

This series is co-sponsored with the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University.

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