The study of contemporary China constitutes a fascinating yet challenging area of scholarly inquiry. Recent decades have brought dramatic changes to China's economy, society and governance. Analyzing such changes in the context of multiple disciplinary perspectives offers opportunites as well as challenges for scholars in the field known as contemporary China Studies. The SAGE Handbook of Contemporary China is a two-volume exploration of the transformations of contemporary China, firmly grounded in the both disciplinary and China-specific contexts. Drawing on a range of scholarly approaches found in the social sciences and history, an international team of contributors engage with the question of what a rapidly changing China means for the broader field of contemporary China studies, and identify areas of promising future research. Part 1: Context: History, Economy, and the Environment Part 2: Economic Transformations Part 3: Politics and Government Part 4: China on the Global Stage Part 5: China's Foreign Policy Part 6: National and Nested Identities Part 7: Urbanization and Spatial Development Part 8: Poverty and Inequality Part 9: Social Change Part 10: Future Directions for Contemporary China Studies
National and Nested Identities: Introduction
How well can the category of Chinese national identity accommodate regional, religious, linguistic and other identities into broader frameworks of citizenship and inclusion? If identities at both the individual and collective level are always plural and nested, as well as contested, how and when do particular identity formations emerge and change? How can scholars measure and observe such changes? How has the research by China scholars on identities contributed to broader disciplinary and theoretical frameworks within which China scholars operate? The nine chapters in this section offer comprehensive overviews for addressing all of these and related questions.
In the most basic formulations, scholars of identity formation separate into three schools of thought: primordialist, instrumentalist, and constructivist. ...