East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society presents
“Interstitial Emergence and The Making of Capitalism: The Thriving of Private Enterprises in China’s Education and Training Industry”
PhD Student, Department of Sociology
The University of Chicago
4:30-6:00p.m., Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.
This paper demonstrates an alternative trajectory of China’s capitalistic development to the existing economics, state-led and new institutional accounts: private economy could emerge and thrive interstitially between the state and the second economy. Drawing on China’s education and training industry (ETI) and education and training organizations (ETOs), I explore why private ETOs thrived and came to leading market status, despite that the Chinese state forbade private ownership and for-profit activities in the ETI. I show there was a particular kind of privately operated ETOs (Cowboy ETOs) that were founded by socially marginalized entrepreneurs and did not conform to the social norms new institutionalists considered as key to private economy development. Being situated in the interstitial space enabled Cowboy ETOs to draw resources and organizational repertoires from both the state and the second economy, providing these ETOs with more ambiguous identities than organizations of competing models. Cowboy ETOs not only benefited directly from their ambiguous identities, but they also gained advantages from the ambiguous regulations’ tolerating their practices. These ETOs outcompeted organizations of other ownerships and came to leading status, facilitating the diffusion of their commercial practices and making the ETI into a commercial industry led by private enterprises. I discuss the implications on state-market relations and origins and size of China’s private economy.
Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/
Student coordinator: Yan Xu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Faculty sponsors: Xi Song, Dali Yang and Dingxin Zhao