The Politics of the Everyday in Chinese Alternative Modernities
Chinese politics, modernity, everyday politics, Chinese Buddhism, Chinese Marxism
Chinese politics, modernity, environmentalism, Buddhism, everyday politics
Wesoky, Sharon R.
This proposal seeks funding to support sabbatical research for a project examining the politics of the everyday in conceptualizing 'alternative modernities' in contemporary China. While there is much attention to ideas of the 'China model,' to protests against inequities within Chinese developmental processes, and to growing materialism and consumerism in Chinese society, there is much less scholarly consideration of how forms of everyday life constitute 'alternatives to the alternative' in a China that is undergoing rapid social transformations. This project will consider cases of volunteering in feminist and environmental organizations, as well as lay Buddhist practice, as examples of 'everyday politics.' My past research on feminist organizing was primarily interested in institutional aspects of state-society relations, while this project represents a significant new direction in terms of methodological examinations of the sociology and politics of 'everyday life' as well as in the case studies of volunteer participants in environmental politics and Buddhist practice. Such a perspective seeks to attain a greater understanding of how individuals are creating their own meanings regarding being 'modern' in contemporary China. I propose to utilize NDI funds for a reading period to familiarize myself with theoretical literatures relevant to the topic and then to support part of a fieldwork trip to China to conduct interviews and gather materials.