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Oil and WaterBeing Han in Xinjiang$
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Tom Cliff

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226359939

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226360270.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Structured Mobility in a Neo-Danwei

Structured Mobility in a Neo-Danwei

(p.73) Three Structured Mobility in a Neo-Danwei
Oil and Water

Tom Cliff

University of Chicago Press

The socialist-era work unit (danwei单位‎) lives on in contemporary, ever-reforming China. Ironically, the processes of reform helped to enable the perpetuation of the traditional danwei’s paternalistic practices by concentrating monopoly power in selected, partially market-listed, central state-owned enterprise groups. The Tarim Oilfield Company is an outstanding example of this balancing act between socialist and market structures–a neo-danwei. Distinctions between different categories of employee are crucial to maintaining the danwei in the midst of marketization. Like the socialist-era danwei, the oil company produces dependency and constrains social mobility. Yet, amidst glorification of open competition and individual achievement, the desire to enter a danwei is as strong as ever. For people immersed in China’s economy of uncertainty and instability, the stagnant safety of the socialist-era danwei is itself highly attractive. Stability becomes a status symbol.

Keywords:   state owned enterprise, market structures, reform, Tarim Oilfield Company, social mobility, status, neo-danwei, economy of uncertainty, instability, stability

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