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Guilty of IndigenceThe Urban Poor in China, 1900-1953$
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Janet Y. Chen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691152103

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691152103.001.0001

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“Living Ghosts” during the Nanjing Decade

“Living Ghosts” during the Nanjing Decade

Chapter:
(p.86) Chapter 3 “Living Ghosts” during the Nanjing Decade
Source:
Guilty of Indigence
Author(s):

Janet Y. Chen

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691152103.003.0004

This chapter underscores how Nationalist (GMD) assumptions about poor relief drew on the intellectual discourses that had developed in the previous decades. It begins with an overview of the intersections between academic sociology and the GMD government's relief agenda, before turning to the specific contours of changes in Beijing and Shanghai. The chapter also returns to the fate of the straw hut dwellers, picking up the narrative from the previous chapter. Here, efforts to reform poor relief tried to classify and organize the recipients of aid into discrete categories, but often failed to recognize poverty as a continuum of misery, difficult to compartmentalize. For the urban poor of Beijing and Shanghai, the GMD's decade in power would mean an uneasy combination of charity and coercion, help and punishment.

Keywords:   Nanjing Decade, poor relief, productivism, urban poor, relief agenda, Beijing, Shanghai, shantytowns

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