Title

The productivist construction of selective welfare pragmatism in China

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Social Policy and Administration

Publication Date

11-2017

Volume

51

Issue

6

First Page

876

Last Page

897

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Keywords

Chinese welfare transition, Chinese social model, Chinese social policy fragmentation, Welfare productivism, Welfare modelling business

Abstract

This article discusses whether Mainland China under the Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao leadership (2003–13) has developed a new welfare settlement, the emphasis of which is to shift away from a ‘productivist’ focus on education and healthcare investment towards a more ‘protective’ approach, characterized by investing into social protection and establishing a minimum living guarantee for both the urban and rural poor. In so doing, this article reviews the conceptual debate on Chinese social policy development and explores whether there is any evidence to substantiate a gradual decrease of fragmentation in social provision among the Chinese provinces. With regard to the former question, the article finds that the various social policy initiatives have yet to amount to a qualitative shift in the core foundation of the human capital-focused welfare production logic in China. With regard to the latter question, we argue that considerable fragmentation of social provision at the Chinese provincial level continues to hamper attempts to define a coherent Chinese social model. Indeed, we find considerable diversity in terms of the co-operative state-local interactions within China leading to varying trajectories of social decentralization. Unlike much of the current research in comparative social policy analysis, which continues to treat Mainland China as a single case, this article provides a strong account of a productivist construction of selective welfare pragmatism, which reproduces social policy gaps for different groups of the Chinese population, and suggests that determining multiple ‘welfare types’ within China might be the most fruitful path for future academic inquiry.

DOI

10.1111/spol.12337

Print ISSN

01445596

E-ISSN

14679515

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Mok, K. H., Kühner, S., & Huang, G. (2017). The productivist construction of selective welfare pragmatism in China. Social Policy and Administration, 51(6), 876–897. doi: 10.1111/spol.12337

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