The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), Year 4 candidate in Global Business Management and Finance
Revisiting Chinese stratification:An investigation of the basic comfort class
Over the past ten years, debates on Chinese stratification have been dominated by research on the middle class, while few attempts have been made to empirically define the consumption and lifestyle of other social agents.This article identifies a social class in urban China: the basic comfort class. First, the authors focus on the space of consumption and its relation to the social space following a “Bourdieusian” perspective. By analyzing data originating from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), they underline the existence of three consumption groups: “the eat sour group”, “the parsimonious consumers”, and “the happy few”. Second, they demonstrate that the parsimonious consumers constitute a social class composed of individuals with different educational and economic resources but whose lifestyle is similarly patterned by a high degree of life uncertainty. In light of these distinctions, the authors suggest to revisit China social stratification.
Keywords:Stratification, China, space of consumption, lifestyle, uncertainties