East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

November 6 Workshop


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society Presents


“Intergenerational Processes and Post-Socialist Transition

in Urban China” 

Presenter: Fangsheng Zhu

Master of Arts in the Social Sciences

University of Chicago


4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday

November 6, 2012

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.



China’s post-socialist transition is ramified by intra-generational as well as inter-generational processes. The market transition debate focuses on the former but neglects the latter. Hence in the market transition debate, the intergenerational return to political capital is ignored, and the intergenerational power conversion and transmission are missing from the picture. Using a unique local dataset and a national dataset, this paper shows that 1) both political capital and human capital can be reproduced inter-generationally; 2) aside from reproduction, parental political capital converts to offspring’s informal political connections, while human capital does not; 3) parental political capital converts to offspring’s human capital, while the opposite conversion does not exist; 4) the ability of political capital to convert to other forms of capital suppresses the reproduction of political capital; 5) all these reproductions and conversions vary across the state sector and the market sector. Together, these findings show that 1) intergenerational return to political capital may exist in forms of informal political connections and human capital in offspring; 2) this power conversion partly accounts for the low reproduction rate of party membership; 3) the power conversion theory (Rona-tas, 1994) can be expanded from intra-generational to inter-generational, suggesting maintained inequality in market transition.


Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/

Student coordinator: Le Lin (lelin2010@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang, Dingxin Zhao and Zheng Michael Song


This presentation is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.



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