Google full text of our books:


Guilty of Indigence:
The Urban Poor in China, 1900-1953
Janet Y. Chen

Paperback | 2013 | $26.95 | £21.95 | ISBN: 9780691161952
Hardcover | 2012 | $55.00 | £45.95 | ISBN: 9780691152103
320 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 14 halftones. 1 table.
Add to Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400839988 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents
Introduction[PDF] pdf-icon

Google full text of this book:

In the early twentieth century, a time of political fragmentation and social upheaval in China, poverty became the focus of an anguished national conversation about the future of the country. Investigating the lives of the urban poor in China during this critical era, Guilty of Indigence examines the solutions implemented by a nation attempting to deal with "society's most fundamental problem." Interweaving analysis of shifting social viewpoints, the evolution of poor relief institutions, and the lived experiences of the urban poor, Janet Chen explores the development of Chinese attitudes toward urban poverty and of policies intended for its alleviation.

Chen concentrates on Beijing and Shanghai, two of China's most important cities, and she considers how various interventions carried a lasting influence. The advent of the workhouse, the denigration of the nonworking poor as "social parasites," efforts to police homelessness and vagrancy--all had significant impact on the lives of people struggling to survive. Chen provides a crucially needed historical lens for understanding how beliefs about poverty intersected with shattering historical events, producing new welfare policies and institutions for the benefit of some, but to the detriment of others.

Drawing on vast archival material, Guilty of Indigence deepens the historical perspective on poverty in China and reveals critical lessons about a still-pervasive social issue.


"The book does a marvelous job of analyzing the discourse surrounding poverty in China. [I]t certainly belongs on the short list of pioneering studies . . . that offer sophisticated analyses of the lives of illiterate, unprivileged men and women in Chinese cities in the decades before establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949."--Kristin Stapleton, American Historical Review

"This book makes an important contribution to the field of modern Chinese history. . . . Janet Y. Chen provides new insight into how the notion of poverty was redefined during this tumultuous and complicated period. Although the ideas and arguments are complex and sophisticated, this is a clearly argued and crisply written book, one that could be easily used in part or in whole in an upper division undergraduate course."--Hong-Ming Liang, Historian

"This book is a veritable model of a social history monograph--one that aspiring PhD students would do well to emulate. . . . It is unusual for a monograph so firmly placed within social history to be as attentive to the unenviable positions in which both weak governments and weak citizens found themselves, but in this Chen's work more than succeeds."--Julia C. Strauss, China Journal


More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments vii
A Note on Conventions ix
Introduction 1
Chapter 1: Between Charity and Punishment 13
Chapter 2: "Parasites upon Society" 46
Chapter 3: "Living Ghosts" during the Nanjing Decade 86
Chapter 4: Beggars or Refugees? 128
Chapter 5: Keeping Company with Ghosts 173
Epilogue 213
Notes 233
Glossary 279
Bibliography 283
Index 303

Subject Areas:

Shopping Cart options:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Kobo eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

     Paperback : $26.95 ISBN: 9780691161952

    Add to shopping cart

     Hardcover : $55.00 ISBN: 9780691152103

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

     Hardcover  £45.95 ISBN: 9780691152103

    Add to shopping cart

     Paperback  £21.95 ISBN: 9780691161952

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 7/11/2017

    Questions and comments to:
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Exam/Desk Copy
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    PUP Home

    Bookmark and Share 
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Asian And Asian American Studies
    Political Science And International Relations
    World History / Comparative History
    More Choices