Cover of Organizing Through Division and Exclusion by Fei-Ling Wang
Organizing Through Division and Exclusion
China’s Hukou System
Fei-Ling Wang


320 pages.

Hardcover now $42.50 (50% off)

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804750394
Ebook ISBN: 9780804767484


Excerpts and More

This book is the first comprehensive examination of China's hukou (household registration) system. The hukou system registers and governs the 1.3 billion Chinese, while creating deep and rigid divisions and exclusions; in many domains the system determines how the Chinese live and shapes China's sociopolitical structure and socioeconomic development. This book shows that the system has made both positive and negative contributions to contemporary Chinese society: it has helped foster rapid economic growth and political stability, but also has reinforced social stratification, the rural-urban divide, regional inequalities, and discrimination and injustice.

Using rich new materials, this book traces the history and development of the hukou system. It describes the functions, impact, and operational mechanisms of the system. It also analyzes the hukou in comparison with the systems of exclusion and discrimination in other nations, notably Brazil and India. This book presents important insights for understanding China's past, present, and future.

About the author

Fei-ling Wang is Associate Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology's Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. He has published two earlier books, Institutions and Institutional Change in China: Premodernity and Modernization (1998), and From Family to Market: Labor Allocation in Contemporary China (1998).

"Readers will have no doubt, after reading this book, that China's Hukou system discriminates against the 70 percent of its population who just happen to be born in the rural areas."

Journal of Chinese Political Science

"What makes this book indispensable for understanding Chinese state-building is its comprehensive analysis of the hukou (household registration) system, a little understood institution responsible for the rural-urban inequality in contemporary China. . . The book's excellent organization allows readers to select relevant chapters and circumvent potholes in the overarching narrative."


"Organizing Through Division and Exclusion is a long-overdue work that will provide and excellent source of information on the ins and outs of Chinas registration system."

The China Journal

"Wangs book is a major contribution to our understanding of a system that has largely escaped attention, particularly in its security aspect as a means of control over targeted people, because its operations are considered state secrets. . . . This work provides us with the most comprehensive account so far, and is an indispensable tool for specialists in contemporary China, while being completely accessible to the general public."

China Perspectives

"As the first published comprehensive examination of China's hukou (household registration) system, Fei-Ling Wang's book has certainly made a significant contribution to helping us better understand China's rapid economic development in general, and its social control and stratification in particular."

Pacific Affairs