Author: Wang, Peng
Title: Escape from the city : seeking alternative lifestyles in today's China
Advisors: Herold, David Kuet (APSS)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2019
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Urban-rural migration -- China
Emigration and immigration -- Social aspects
Department: Department of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: 197 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: This dissertation is positioned in the discipline of Chinese studies and adopts the ethnographic approaches to explore the alternative lifestyles of eighteen urban-rural migrants in mainland China. Its conceptual framework is intentional communities that are "somewhat decentralized, giving members a good sustainable mix of freedom and togetherness" (Gardner, 1978). Compared to traditional communes, intentional communities are characterized by small scale, consensus, co-construction, co-creation and utopian preferences, and are usually made up of people who share the same ideals and values. Such communities also emphasize on human rights and environmental sustainability, which have received little attention from Chinese scholars and remains poorly understood. This study contextualizes individual's experiments of alternative lifestyles and their construction of a specific intentional community (the AnotherLand) into the personal biographies of the participants who escape from the city for various reasons in today's China. It provides thick descriptions of the participants' experiences and feelings before and after urban-rural migration. By taking their narratives about escape as a starting point, this PhD study explores their motivation for leaving the city, their practices of everyday life and their interpretations of rural idyll. It aims to understand how my participants' reflexive habitus and their alternative lifestyles built each other, and to what extent their lifestyle experiments in this specific intentional community fulfilled their pursuit of good life. Bourdieu's habitus is adopted as a theoretical perspective to reveal a self-reflexive process in developing specific Half-Farmer and Half-X lifestyles in the countryside. The goal and contribution of this dissertation has been, (1) to demonstrate the complexity and diversity of the participants' lifestyle experiments, as well as their membership in intentional communities, and (2) to fill a gap in practical theory with reflexive habitus, by providing an ethnographic case study in the context of China. It concludes that the alternative lifestyles constructed collectively in China's countryside can only partially fulfill urban-rural migrants' pursuit of good life.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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