The analysis of Chinese rural society: Fei Xiaotong revisited

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China’s best-known sociologist, Fei Xiaotong, is widely credited with providing a general statement of guanxi relations underlying Chinese society. Examination of Fei’s celebrated From the Soil and associated publications, as well as the work of contemporary researchers, reveals Fei’s neglected Confucianism and the derivative nature of his conceptualization of “the differential mode of association.” Additionally, limitations of village-centric perspectives and the importance of nonkin relations in rural society are identified and erstwhile neglected aspects of guanxi highlighted. The article contributes to the study of guanxi and Chinese society in general by developing a sociological account of the variety and nature of social connections.


Institute for Religion, Politics, and Society

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Journal Article

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