Better city, better life, but for whom? The hukou and resident card system and the consequential citizenship stratification in Shanghai

Limei Li*, Si Ming LI, Yingfang Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper uses the concept of citizenship in the social sense of membership and the right to an allocation of resources to examine the urban citizenship of migrants in Chinese metropolises with special reference to Shanghai. Citizenship in the Chinese context is interlocked with the household registration (hukou) system instituted more than 50. years ago. The paper tracks the changes in both the defacto and the hukou population in selected Chinese cities in the past 30. years to analyze how large the gate of the hukou system has been opened and under what circumstances urban hukou is conferred on migrants. Facing a flood of migration, the Shanghai Municipal Government has introduced a residence card system without challenging the existing hukou system. Blended new wine in an old bottle, a hierarchical structure of population registration and management has been set up leading to a system of citizenship stratification, which allows the municipal government to trade the differential citizenship for talents, capital, and super-low-cost labor and to avoid the social obligations to the non-constituents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalCity, Culture and Society
Volume1
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Urban Studies
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Hukou
  • Migrants
  • Residence card system
  • Stratification
  • Urban citizenship

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