Gonçalo Santos, “Chinese Village Life Today: Building Families in an Age of Transition” (U Washington Press, 2021)

Today I had the pleasure of talking to Professor Gonçalo Santos (University of Coimbra), about his new book, Chinese Village Life Today: Building Families in an Age of Transitionwhich was published in 2021 by University of Washington Press.

Chinese Village Life Today is based on more than twenty years of Gonçalo Santos’s field research. The book paints a richly detailed portrait of a rural township in Guangdong Province, north of the industrialized Pearl River Delta region, to consider the intimate choices that village families make in the face of larger forces of modernization. Filled with vivid anecdotes and keen observations, the book offers a fresh perspective on China’s urban-rural divide and a grounded theoretical approach to understand how China’s rural transformation is changing the ways that local people shape their intimate daily lives – from marriage, childbirth, and childcare to personal hygiene and public sanitation.

I highly recommend the book for anyone who wants to understand village life in China today, and more broadly for those interested in studies on medical anthropology and the workings of technocratic frameworks of governance.

Dr. Suvi Rautio is an anthropologist of China.

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