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Knowing China

A Twenty-First Century Guide

Frank Pieke
20 September 2016
Cambridge University Press

Contemporary China appears both deceptively familiar and inexplicably different.
China is a cauldron of forms of entrepreneurship, social organization, ways of life and
governance that are at once new and unique, recognizably Chinese and generically
modern. In analysing and interpreting these developments, Frank Pieke adopts a
China-centric perspective to move beyond western preoccupations, desires, or fears.
Each chapter starts with a key question about China, showing that such questions and
assumptions are often based on a misunderstanding or misconstruction of what China is
today. Frank Pieke explores twenty- rst-century China as a unique kind of neo-socialist
society, combining features of state socialism, neoliberal governance, capitalism and
rapid globalization. Understanding this society not only helps us to know China better,
but takes us beyond the old dichotomies of West versus East, developed versus developing,
tradition versus modernity, democracy versus dictatorship and capitalism versus

FRANK N. PIEKE is chair professor in modern China studies at Leiden University
in 2010. Pieke’s current research revolves around foreign migration to China and the
changing role of the Chinese Communist Party. His books include The Good Communist:
Elite Training and State Building in Today’s China (2009) and Transnational Chinese:
Fujianese Migrants in Europe (2004).

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