Member Book, Yi Wu, Negotiating Rural Land Ownership in Southwest China: State, Village, Family

Yi Wu Announcement
Announcement Type
Call for Publications
South Carolina, United States
Subject Fields
Anthropology, Chinese History / Studies

Dear H-PRC Members,

I am pleased to announce the recent publication of my book

 Yi Wu, Negotiating Rural Land Ownership in Southwest China: State, Village, Family (A Study of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University).  University of Hawaii Press, 2016, 304 pages, ISBN: 978-0824846770.

Negotiating Rural Land Ownership in Southwest China offers the first comprehensive analysis of how China’s current system of land ownership has evolved over the past six decades.  Based on more than a decade of fieldwork in villages and courts in Yunnan Province, this book explores how the three major rural actors—local governments, village communities, and rural households—have contested and negotiated land rights at the grassroots level, thereby transforming the structure of rural land ownership in the People’s Republic of China. In particular, this book sheds light on the long overlooked role played by rural settlements (often referred to by the Chinese government as “natural villages”) in shaping rural land ownership. At least two million “natural villages” are estimated to exist in China today. This book reveals how a landholding structure, which I term “bounded collectivism,” was formed in southwest China as a result of the contestation between the Chinese state trying to establish collective land ownership and natural villages seeking exclusive control over land resources within their traditional borders. Bounded collectivism has profound implications for how the current two levels of village administration—the administrative village and its constituent villagers’ groups—share land rights, how differentiation between cadres at the two levels of village administration has given rise to complex political problems, and how the land market will evolve in future.


Chapter 1. Introduction

Part One: Two Kinds of Villages

Chapter 2. Zhaizi, the Persistent Natural Village in Fuyuan

Chapter 3. Zhaizi and the Making of Bounded Collectivism

Chapter 4. The Administrative Village: Power Differentiation and Land Rights Shared between Its Two Administrative Levels

Part Two: Rural Families

Chapter 5. What Is under the Control of the Family?

Chapter 6. The Economic Resilience and Predicament of Rural Families

Part Three: The Local Government

Chapter 7. Land as a New Subject of Control: The National Context of Reform

Chapter 8. Land Resources and the Fuyuan Government’s Development Agendas

Part Four: An Evolving Land Ownership System in the Reform Era

Chapter 9: Negotiating Land Use Rights and Income Distribution in Agricultural Production

Chapter 10: Contesting Land Transfer Rights and Income Distribution in the Land Market

Chapter 11: Concluding Reflections


Chinese Character Glossary



For more information:


Contact Information

Yi Wu, Ph.D

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Clemson University

Clemson, SC 29634


Contact Email