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Reading: Rural Resiliency: Sources of Sustainability in the Chinese Countryside


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Rural Resiliency: Sources of Sustainability in the Chinese Countryside


Mark Dailey

Green Mountain College
About Mark
Mark Dailey is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Asian Studies Program at Green Mountain College. He is an environmental anthropologist with research interests in China, wild resources, globalization/localization, and the conservation of social and ecological diversity.
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Rural China, where approximately 800 million citizens live, is experiencing a set of challenges similar to rural areas in other countries. Worldwide, although rural regions are the main sources of natural resources and human capital that feed the economic growth of urban-industrial cores, these regions at the headwaters of globalization are comparatively overexploited, underdeveloped, undervalued, and underappreciated. China’s rural-urban relationship deserves special attention, though, because of the uniqueness of some features of its current transformations, and the speed and volume with which they are occurring. In the following essay, I draw on environmental anthropology, human ecology, and resiliency theory to examine these transformations and challenges, and to propose a fundamental thesis: that China’s rural regions are sites of critically important (1) cultural and biological diversities and (2) embedded and comparatively durable knowledge and practices that are critical to the resiliency of rural systems in particular and, by extension, Chinese society as a whole.
How to Cite: Dailey, M., 2009. Rural Resiliency: Sources of Sustainability in the Chinese Countryside. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 17(1), pp.79–96. DOI:
Published on 01 Oct 2009.
Peer Reviewed


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