“I am normal, I am a small sea wave; I am pround, I am in the sea.” This is a slogan on the wall of a primary school in Wuhan. This slogan also shows how Chinese schools use metaphors to enlighten students about collective consciousness. #wuhan #isee #latergram
According to Wikipedia, a work unit or Danwei 单位(dān wèi) is the name given to a place of employment in the People’s Republic of China. While the term Danwei remains in use today it is more properly used to refer to a place of employment during the period when the Chinese economy was still more heavily socialist or when used in the context of one of state-owned enterprises
Richard Child Hill, the writer of the book review on Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The Dan Wei System From Origins to Urban Reform thinks that Danwei system is developed in socialist China. This system emphasizes the importance of collective behaviors and opinions while the traditional China put more attention to the familial hierarchy.
Danwei space is designed to bolster the socialist order yet it also mimics the family compounds of traditional China. Confucian and socialist China are very different social orders yet the wall demarcates social space in both, and both endow space with political and moral significance. The Confucian compound is ruled by the family patriarch; the socialist production compound by the danwei. Confucian space sanctifies familial hierarchy; socialist space a collectivist and egalitarian concept of social relations.
Brief History of Danwei Society
Chinese scholars, Tian Yipeng and Liu Jie briefly introduce the history of Danwei Society in an article titled:Historical Position of”Unit-Society”Appraised Again “单位社会”历史地位的再评价
1) 1948 – 1953 Exploration Period
During the Chinese War of Liberation Period, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has already began to explore the new urban management system in the Northeast China. CCP’s efforts to establish the new management system in urban area were important basis of the Danwei System. In 1949, CCP began to establish the “Country – Danwei - Individual”, the Danwei System in the People’s Republic of China.
2) 1953 – 1956 Finalized Period
CCP finished the First Five-Year Plan (一五计划) in 1956. This plan was crucial to the finalization and development of the Danwei System. Danwei began to play an important role in Chinese people’s daily life. The system includes the following content – Danwei is not only a workplace but also a place where people participate in political affairs; Danwei is responsible for people’s welfare system; Danwei represents the CCP and government to supervise people’s work and life, etc.
3) 1957 – 1976 Peak Period
Chairman Mao promoted the development of People’s Commune (人民公社). Mao tried to extend Danwei System from urban area to rural area. Meanwhile, Danwei System kept developing Danwei System. Danwei System arrived its peak period during Cultural Revolution (文化大革命).
4) 1980 – now Decline and Transition PeriodAs Deng Xiaoping came up with policy of reform and openness in 1980s, planned economy in China gradually declined. Since Danwei System was connected to the planned economy, it also encounter the decline and transition period.
At the same time the role of the work unit has changed as China has moved from a socialist ideology to “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”. By 2000 much of the work unit’s power had been removed. In 2003, for example, it became possible to marry or divorce someone without needing authorization from ones’ work unit. (Wikipedia)
How Danwei System Works
In the book review on Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The Danwei System from Origins to Urban Reform, Richard also mentions that the Danwei System is how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mobilized, integrated, and governed China’s exploding urban population after the 1949 revolution.
The danwei was simultaneously the spatial building block, the locus of daily life, and the mainspring of social identity in the Chinese socialist city. Danwei is a generic term referring to the socialist workplace and the activities it encompasses. The CCP organized the city through the workplace. The grass roots production unit, be it factory, government bureau, school, or hospital, touched nearly every aspect of a Chinese worker’s life: it provided employment and housing, meal provision and bath houses, child care and early schooling, medical treatment and welfare services, political study and party membership, marriage and divorce, policing and security. Two decades of economic reform have considerably diminished the danwei’s significance in the Chinese city but the system’s legacy lives on in the institutions that are replacing it.
Influence of Danwei System
According to Wikipedia, “The influence of a work unit on the life of an individual was substantial and permission had to be obtained from the work units before undertaking everyday events such as travel, marriage, or having children. Amongst other things, the work unit assigned individuals living quarters and provided them with food, which was eaten in centralized canteens.” For example,
The danwei system was crucial to the implementation of the one child policy as the reproductive behavior of workers could be monitored through the danwei system. Workers not complying with policy could have their pay docked, incentives withheld or living conditions downgraded.
介绍信Jie Shao Xin, a letter of introduction which is provided by Danwei. This letter used to be very important in Chinese people’s life because without this letter, you cannot prove “who you are” and you cannot travel to other places. The most important part of the letter is the official seal.
A report about Chinese ID card shows the importance of Jie Shao Xin. Before government came up with the policy of ID card in 1984, Chinese people cannot go to other places to work or live without Jie Shao Xin. Below is a picture of a formal Jie Shao Xin.
“The Jie Shao Xin above has the formal format. It includes address, text, ending, signature, dates and etc. The most important part in this letter is the official seal.”
Ji Zhongxue, a famous brilliant person of his village comes from Huainan, Shanxi province. Village head used to ask him to contact with the forestry center in 1975. Every time leaving home, he had to take lots of Jie Shao Xin and supporting files because “who are you” was completely decided by the Jie Shao Xin.
“When we don’t have the ID cards, people have to take Jie Shao Xin whatever you do – on business or visiting relatives and wherever you go” Ji Zhongxue said. If you want to visit other places, no matter you have to work or you are on journey; no matter you want to take a train or live in a hotel; or even you go to other village to visit relatives, you need the Jie Shao Xin. Jie Shao Xin is a person’s identity. “Without Jie Shao Xin, you cannot go anywhere else.”
You can find more information about Danwei System in these two books
Almost all the tables in library have this announcement - there are 5 rules to improve the efficiency in the use of study rooms. #isee #wuhanuniversity #library
Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life was written by Robert Bellah, Richard Madsen, William Sullivan, Ann Swidler and Steven Tiption. They give insights about “what resources Americans have for making sense of their lives, how they think about themselves and their society, and how their ideas relate to their actions.” As I have mentioned in the book review on the first chapter of Habits of the Heart, the chapter has two main parts: storytelling and data analysis. Here I want to share 5 points I have learnt from first chapter on the storytelling.
1 Begin the story with a brief summary/description of the character – not only show the character’s basic information to the readers but also tell them why he/she is special or relevant to your topic. In Margaret’s story, writer uses one sentence to summarize the person.
She places individual fulfillment higher than attachment to family and community.
2 Evidence should follow up each description/analysis. Good quotes from the interviews make your arguments strong. Meanwhile, people will understand your abstract analysis easily when they go through the colloquial words.
She understands that human relationships require give-and-take, that you must work hard for the satisfactions you expect in life, and that you are ultimately responsible for your own life. But this clear-sighted vision of each individual’s ultimate self-reliance turns out to leave very little place for interdependence and to correspond to a fairly grim view of the individual’s place in the social world. Self-reliance is a virtue that implies being alone. “I do think it’s important for you to take responsibility for yourself, I mean, nobody else is going to really do it. I mean people do take care of each other, people help each other, you know, when somebody’s sick, and that’s wonderful. In the end, you’re really alone and you really have to answer to yourself, and in the end, if you don’t get the job you want or, you know, meet the person you want, it’s at least in part your responsibility. I mean your knight in shining armor is not going to meet you on the street and leave messages all over the world trying to find you. It’s not going to happen.
3 Write tensions in details - tell the readers who/what/when/where and how do these tensions happen. Show the characters’ changing process in the story will influence the reader easier to reach the sympathetic response.
Wayne’s break with his family and quest for “something better” came in 1965, when he was seventeen. He had joined the Marine Corps. “I had come from a background of John Wayne, you know, American patriotism. This whole kind of facade of what we were all about as the American people.” After boot camp he was stationed at Camp Lejeune and would come up to New York City on leave. “Nineteen sixty-five was when NYU marched and burned the draft cards and all of a sudden there was a political awareness and these people were letting their hair grow a little longer and putting earrings in their ear. And this was a real shock to me. I mean, I didn’t understand this. I was in the Marine Corps.”
4 Connect the participants from different stories to make a chapter tight and remind the readers of your analysis. The writer in Habits of the Heart points that Margaret and Wayne Bauer hold the same opinion on value.
Like Brian Palmer, Margaret takes “values” as given, “whatever they might happen to be.”
5 Sum up the stories and leave clues for the further analysis. Take the last paragraph of Wayne Bauer’s story as example, the writer points out Wayne’s problem is a typical one of the whole Americans which will be explained later.
Wayne has gradually reentered the Roman Catholic Church, drawn by the example of a priest who has attempted to apply the insights of the Latin American “theology of liberation” to conditions in the United States. He has also begun seriously to consider a legal career, in which he could devote himself to public service law. In spite of these moves to give more substance and direction to his political concerns, his political vocabulary at best does a partial job of explaining and developing his own sense of justice and responsibility. As we shall see, his problem is a typical one for Americans, conservative, liberal, and radical alike.
Meet new friends here. #cuhk #wuhan #alumni
This is the first time I have so many colorful Xiao Long Bao. #ieat #wuhan #latergram