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Book of the Month - June 2014

For more than 140 years the United States has consistently been the world’s largest economy, but according to new numbers from a World Bank project (the International Comparison Project), China is poised to overtake the US this year, earlier than expected. With the growing economic and social importance of China in global affairs, our June Book of the Month could not be timelier. Xiangqun Chang’s book ‘Society Building: A China Model of Social Development’ has been receiving wide academic acclaim since its publication last month, as it offers a greater understanding of the social and political structures that underpin China’s economic advance.

The essays in this volume showcase the latest research of non-Chinese scholars relating to China’s social development in a global context. They consider the following topics: the social impact of infrastructure projects; China’s reforms and its changing political system; whether or not the Singapore model is suitable for China to follow; soft power through education; and boundaries, cosmopolitanisms and spaces in Chinese and international cities. The book will be of interest to academics, professionals, practitioners, university students and the general public seeking a comprehensive understanding of China

To find out more about this book, please click here to read a sample extract and contents page. 

We are offering all of our readers a generous 60% discount on this best-selling title. To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code BOMJUN14 during checkout. Please note that this is a time limited offer that will expire on 6th July 2014.

Please see below for highlights of the praise this book has been receiving:

“Modernity in China's histories over the last 150 years has been a complex, often painful process. This continues, and aspects of it are looked at in this clear, hybrid and scholarly book. […] This is a timely book, because the notion of a specific China Model was in danger of retreating into rhetoric. These essays show that there is much about the Chinese experience of its reform in the last thirty years that was borrowed, but also much that was due to indigenous innovation. Armed with the detailed frameworks and the information from the essays in this book, we can think about the Model much more profitably, and put into practice one of the great implication of the Reform process when it started in the late 1970s, to make practice the criterion of truth.”

—Professor Kerry Brown, University of Sydney, Australia


“Xiangqun Chang has assembled an excellent team of contributors to discuss the idea of ‘society building’ in China. The term was coined by Sun Yat-Sen in 1917, but it could not be more contemporary – as China wrestles to reconcile the demands of population, resources, democracy and social welfare. This book gives us considerable insights into the alternative visions of social development now being discussed in China.”

—Professor Emeritus Robin Cohen, University of Oxford, UK


“This book tackles one of the most important tasks for social science research in the 21st century, understanding the Great Transformation that is occurring in China. Inspired by the late Professor Lu Xueyi, Society Building probes the many models interpreting and guiding the process of change. I highly recommend the book.”

—Professor Gary Hamilton, University of Washington, USA


“As China’s rapid economic progress fluctuates, with global repercussions, it is becomes imperative that we get a better understanding of the socio/political structures that underpin and interact with this advance. This collection of papers is a valuable addition to this discussion. Contributors explain the various social and economic ‘models’ that China has experimented with, putting them in both historical and comparative perspectives. Highly recommended reading.”

— Professor Emeritus Christopher Howe, SOAS, University of London


“Drawing on the expertise and insights of scholars from eight countries, this book illuminates the meaning of the ‘China model’ and the implications for China’s societal development and political system. The book tackles this significant issue from a variety of interesting angles. It is well worth reading, especially in light of China’s importance in the world.”

— Professor Jonathan Unger, Australian National University


"Lu Xueyi’s name is known for his work in China on building a harmonious society. Fei Xiatong, whose work is the key for Western sociologists to understand China’s Society Building, explains in his chapter Chaxugeju that “Chinese social patterns… lack organizations that transcend individual personal relationships” (From the Soil, 1992:160). As a result, public virtues dedicated to serving organizations could not develop in China. The present collection of essays shows how Lu’s projects were designed to follow Fei’s insight."

— Professor Emeritus Horst J. Helle, University of Munich, Germany

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