John OsburgAug 9, 2013
Money and Morality Among China's New Rich
Stanford University Press 2013
John Osburg's new book explores the rise of elite networks of newly-rich entrepreneurs, managers of state enterprises, and government officials in Chengdu. Based on extensive fieldwork that included hosting a Chinese TV show and spending many evenings in KTV clubs with businessmen who were entertaining clients, partners, and state officials, Anxious Wealth: Money and Morality Among China's New Rich (Stanford University Press, 2013) looks at the masculinization of private business and deal-making in modern China. Osburg also considers the challenges this masculinization has posed for women, including women entrepreneurs in Chengdu and the new class of women arising from a growing "beauty-economy." The book argues that these phenomena are crucial for understanding economic inequality, gender discrimination, and many aspects of the political configuration as they emerged in the reform era and continue to characterize contemporary society. Osburg sheds new light on the importance of social networks and the hybrid business/pleasure nature of relationships in modern China by placing gender at the center of his ethnography. Enjoy!