Patriotic Professionalism in Urban China: Fostering Talent

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In the post-Maoist era, China adopted a strategy for investing in the "quality" of its people-through education and training opportunities-that created talented labor. In her significant ethnographic study, Patriotic Professionalism in Urban China, Lisa Hoffman explains why the development of "human capital" is seen as fundamental for economic growth and national progress. She examines these new urban employees, who were deemed vital to the success of the global city in China, and who hoped for social mobility, a satisfying career, and perhaps a family.

Patriotic Professionalism in Urban China addresses the emergence of this urban professional subject in Dalian, a port city in China. Hoffman identifies who these new professionals are, what choices they have made, and how they have remained closely connected with the nation-although not necessarily the Communist party-leading to a new social form she calls "Patriotic Professionalism."

Hoffman contributes to the understanding of changing urban life in China while providing an analysis of the country's "late-socialist neoliberalism." In the process, she asks pressing questions about how such shifts impact cities, how individuals and families negotiate these changes, and how "choice" itself is a part of the subject formation process for these young professionals.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Lisa Hoffman has given us an extraordinary study of the now ubiquitous urban professional in China. A critical mediation on debates about neoliberalism, governmentality, and the crafting of selves, this is likewise a beautifully written ethnography of Dalian as a global city. Hoffman takes us into strange but familiar worlds, where social mobility, the marketing of talent, and the mobilization of human capital are central to new forms of capitalist development and, at the same time, informed by a Maoist-era ethics of care for the nation. This is a must read for anyone interested in the brave new world of capitalism in China. A stupendous achievement.” 
—Ralph Litzinger, Duke University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439900345
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2010
  • Series: Urban Life, Landscape and Policy Series
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa M. Hoffman is Associate Professor in the Urban Studies Program at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

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Table of Contents

1. Talent in the Global City: Preparing Dalian for the Twenty-first Century 
2. Refiguring Dalian 
3. Cultivating Talent 
4. Patriotic Professionalism 
5. Turning Culture into Profit 
6. Gendering Security and the State in Urban China 
7. Going Forward: China, Neoliberalism, and Economic Crises 

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