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Erschienen in: Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie 5/2008

01.10.2008 | ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTION

Emergence of the notion of retirement in rural China:

The case of rural districts of Shanghai

verfasst von: Dr. Shi Shih-Jiunn

Erschienen in: Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie | Ausgabe 5/2008

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Abstract

Since the outset of the reform process in 1978, rural China has been undergoing fundamental changes in the relationships between the state, society and individuals. Social policy, including pension policy for rural residents, is an essential factor in this transformation process which has influenced the life chances of many peasants. This paper deals with the relationship between social policy and individual life courses in the case of Shanghai’s rural pension policy. It integrates the theoretical insights from life course research to emphasise the close relationship between the state welfare and the institutionalisation of the life course. By analysing biographical interviews conducted in rural Shanghai, this article has identified the changing nature of welfare mix in rural old-age security as well as the emergence of the notion of retirement among the peasants in rural Shanghai. The introduction of the innovative rural pension policy has given rise to the rudimentary emergence of a modern life course, in the contour of a temporal partition between work and retirement. However, diverse local subsidies and individual household situations have led to different perceptions and biographical orientations of the peasants with respect to their old-age security and retirement.
Fußnoten
1
Research for this article was funded by the International Graduate School of Sociology, University of Bielefeld. Prof. Lutz Leisering also provided generous academic and financial support during my PhD study. I am indebted to Professors Cai Mantang, Peng Xizhe, as well as Gong Sen, Tang Jun, Dai Guangyi, and Liu Yugen for their assistance during my fieldwork in China. Revision of this article was jointly funded by the College of Social Sciences, National Taiwan University; and the National Science Council in Taiwan (project number: NSC 97-2410-H-002 -003 –MY2).
 
2
The choice of Jiading District and Pudong New District is based on their peculiarities. While the former is the first region in Shanghai which introduced the rural pension scheme in 1986, the latter has become the fastest-growing region in Shanghai in recent decades, making it necessary to deal with the blurring boundary between urban and rural areas.
 
3
The viewpoint of life course institutionalisation has, however, triggered debates among social scientists over the further development of the life course in Western societies. A number of scholars believe that the life course is currently undergoing drastic change toward the erosion of the normal biography. For relevant discussions, see [11, 23].
 
4
See: [18]. For the significance of age in the perception of social agency, see [22].
 
5
The focus on local institutional framework makes sense because the policy guideline of the central government stresses the self-reliance of local pension schemes. For the discussion of the general nationwide development, see [14, 24].
 
6
For instance, the new social assistance scheme, Minimum Living Standard System (MLSS), was initially experimented in Shanghai, and then expanded to all Chinese cities in 1999 upon the demand of the central government. See [17].
 
7
The following description and data are based on the interview with the official of the Bureau of Labour and Social Security in Shanghai, April 2005. Further information originates from the pamphlet about the rural old-age insurance issued by the Shanghai Bureau of Civil Affairs in 1996.
 
8
Description in this section over the policy details of the TIP is based on the “Overview of the Township Insurance Programme” issued by the Shanghai Bureau of Labour and Social Security.
 
9
The 25% contribution rate includes 17% for pension insurance, 5% for medical insurance, 2% for unemployment insurance, 0.5% for work injury and another 0.5% for motherhood insurance. See: “Provisional Regulation of TIP in Shanghai” of 18 October 2003 (Shanghai xiao chengzhen shehui baoxian zhanxing banfa).
 
10
The following description is based on the information of the “Provisional Regulation of TIP in Shanghai” of 18 October 2003 (Shanghai xiao chengzhen shehui baoxian zhanxing banfa). As unemployment and motherhood are less relevant for the theme here, I put aside the illustration of their respective regulations.
 
11
Insured persons who have reached the age threshold but fail to provide sufficient contribution records are allowed to pay contributions until the minimum condition is fulfilled.
 
12
Figures are provided by the Bureau of Labour and Social Security in Shanghai. It was estimated that until the end of 2006, the TIP has covered, together with the urban and rural social insurance schemes, nearly 13 million Shanghai residents.
 
13
Interview, 12 May 2005.
 
14
Interview, 28 April 2005.
 
15
Paucity of statistical data precludes further information about the progress of private commercial insurance in rural Shanghai. Note that public and private pension schemes here have been in a competitive relationship to each other.
 
16
Even the newly-established TIP is unable to provide fully-fledged protection for these risks. Especially medical care has become the greatest threat to the household economy in rural Shanghai. Although the TIP grants a certain percentage of financial subsidies for the incurred medical expenses, the regulation sets a ceiling for the refund of medical costs.
 
17
Interview, 16 May 2005.
 
18
Interview, 29 April 2005.
 
19
Interview, 28 April 2005.
 
20
Interview, 12 May 2005.
 
21
Interview, 16 May 2005.
 
22
Interview, 28 April 2005.
 
23
In this respect, David-Friedmann’s observation (2: 17) remains valid that “these clear-cut differences between the work and retirement of elderly men and women create different patterns of leisure in advanced old age.” But my findings in rural Shanghai point to the consolidation of this trend by the rural pension schemes.
 
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Metadaten
Titel
Emergence of the notion of retirement in rural China:
The case of rural districts of Shanghai
verfasst von
Dr. Shi Shih-Jiunn
Publikationsdatum
01.10.2008
Verlag
D. Steinkopff-Verlag
Erschienen in
Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie / Ausgabe 5/2008
Print ISSN: 0948-6704
Elektronische ISSN: 1435-1269
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00391-008-0002-8

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