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The Gendered Rice Bowl

The Gendered Rice Bowl This article examines new conceptions of gender and sexuality in China, asking how and why they have become so integral to the organization of service work regimes there. Drawing on ethnographic data collected in three urban Chinese retail settings, this article demonstrates how essentialized conceptions of gender and sexuality powerfully communicate class distinctions in service settings through associations with the imagery of China’s shift from socialism to a marketized society. A shift from the socialist “iron rice bowl” to the “rice bowl of youth” infuses youthful, feminine, urban bodies with value while simultaneously devaluing middle-aged and rural women. This article argues that an essentializing discourse of gender legitimates new inequalities in urban China by masking the class distinctions simultaneously produced. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Gender & Society SAGE

The Gendered Rice Bowl

Gender & Society , Volume 19 (5): 20 – Oct 1, 2005

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References (68)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0891-2432
eISSN
1552-3977
DOI
10.1177/0891243205276794
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article examines new conceptions of gender and sexuality in China, asking how and why they have become so integral to the organization of service work regimes there. Drawing on ethnographic data collected in three urban Chinese retail settings, this article demonstrates how essentialized conceptions of gender and sexuality powerfully communicate class distinctions in service settings through associations with the imagery of China’s shift from socialism to a marketized society. A shift from the socialist “iron rice bowl” to the “rice bowl of youth” infuses youthful, feminine, urban bodies with value while simultaneously devaluing middle-aged and rural women. This article argues that an essentializing discourse of gender legitimates new inequalities in urban China by masking the class distinctions simultaneously produced.

Journal

Gender & SocietySAGE

Published: Oct 1, 2005

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