Department of Geography
Better city, better life, but for whom?: The hukou and resident card system and the consequential citizenship stratification in Shanghai
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. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
China, Hukou, Migrants, Residence card system, Stratification, Urban citizenship
Source Publication Title
City, Culture and Society
Li, Limei, Si-ming Li, and Yingfang Chen. "Better city, better life, but for whom?: The hukou and resident card system and the consequential citizenship stratification in Shanghai." City, Culture and Society 1.3 (2010): 145-154.