2001 Student-Faculty Fellows: Butler University
Chinese Voices on the Impact of Globalization
Mentor: Fuji Lozada, Anthropology
Students: Rebecca Lynne Dayhuff ’04; Jennifer Nicole Fugate ’04; Matthew Clark Guebard ’03; Elizabeth Nancy Jackson ’03; Jeffrey Scott Payne ’02
Abstracts of Reflections and/or Research
From the perspective of my role as a faculty member building a nascent program in China studies, our AsiaNetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Fellows fieldwork trip was especially rewarding because of the increased faculty and student interest in China. This was the first time that I have organized a student fieldwork trip in China, and I learned many lessons that I hope to apply in future student fieldwork, study tour visits, and curriculum design. Intensive work with these students, many of whom I have in classes on Chinese society and culture, also provided me with an opportunity to assess learning outcomes in a practical setting. Because of the time spent facilitating student research, however, I also had few opportunities to conduct my own research; but I expected this during our planning for this fieldwork. The first lesson learned was that we need to re-evaluate how students study the Chinese language here at Butler University. Another lesson that was demonstrated to colleagues in other disciplines was that students from all majors, including our business students, gain much from an intensive fieldwork experience in China. One of the students participating in the program has become noticed by faculty in our other schools, and programs outside of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have seen the benefit of interdisciplinary exchanges and the establishment of cross-disciplinary programs that are unified through regional interests. One assumption was confirmed during the fieldwork trip Ã students are better able to do fieldwork if they are partnered with a local student or teacher.
China’s enormous market has led many American companies to take their business into China. With this increase in foreign business in China, domestic competitors are feeling the effects on their profit. Based on fieldwork done in Shanghai, China in the summer of 2001 and examinations of marketing case studies from other business firms, my paper will examine the effects of globalization in China to evaluate competition between Chinese and American companies. As younger generations in China push for a more western, consumer-oriented culture and the Chinese government implements reform according to WTO regulations, American companies will become even more successful in China. Starbucks is already taking business away from traditional Chinese teahouses and Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola have the largest share in the soda market in China. Chinese businesses, however, do have the ability to compete with the American companies if they change the way they do business. Globalization right now may be putting a strain on Chinese companies, but in the future it will cause these companies to improve their business and their profit.
Jennifer N. Fugate
The purpose of fieldwork in China was to do research on the effects of globalization on religion. My fieldwork involved visiting temples and churches, and talking with monks, priests, missionaries, religious practitioners, and foreigners. The five religions recognized by the Chinese government are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestant Christianity and Catholicism. While on a visit to the Lingguan Temple in Meizhou, I was able to observe a traditional Buddhist funeral. One thing that really struck me as odd at the funeral was that no one was crying. Everyone in the family seemed at peace with the loss of their loved one. The funerals I have attended here in the United States have often involved several people carrying on and sobbing uncontrollably. The Chinese people that I observed seemed to have a much more perceptive outlook on death when compared with much of the Western world. So although the impact of globalization on Chinese religions is immense, many age old customs and views are still maintained. At this same temple I met a Chinese man who claimed to be both Catholic and Buddhist. Upon speaking with one student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, I learned why it is that many Chinese people claim both a Christian and a Chinese religion. She informed me that even though the children are taught Christianity in school, the old customs of Chinese religions are still being practiced and handed down in the home. While walking near the Jade Buddha Temple one day, I happened to observe a t-shirt displayed in a store window which read “Jesus is Lord!.” This shirt was being sold on the same street other vendors were selling statues of Buddha and other Chinese religious merchandise. The fact that these stores can operate within the same block of each other is a demonstration of the relative peacefulness between the five official religions in China.
China is becoming an increasingly globalized nation. Transnational influences are greatly shaping China’s social structure and cultural practices. As a result many people are struggling to find their identity within the context of globalization. A whole generation of youth must find and create their own identities in the presence of loosening government restrictions, increasing social freedoms and encroaching western culture. One of the most defining characteristics of these youths identities is the music they choose to listen to. Many have chosen their identities amongst the back drop of popular culture. Some of these men and women, however, have decided to turn their back on pop culture. This conscious decision places them outside of contemporary society and essentially defines them as a counter-culture group. As a marginalized and almost alienated faction, these young men and women make conscious efforts to distinguish themselves from the conformity of regular society. The growing popularity of death metal (grunge music) has created an outlet for marginalized youth. CD covers, music videos and even live performances have helped to create a shared and distinct style of rock fans. The fashions and attitudes presented by this type of music have spawned the creation of a distinct sub-culture that is greatly influenced by western music. The popular death metal and grunge bands of the early 1990s have been critical in influencing the music styles of Chinese rock artists. Although Chinese death metal musicians have relied on western music for inspiration, it is far from imitation. Chinese artists are beginning to make death metal a distinctly Chinese form of music. In this way, globalization has spawned the creation of a new genre of music by influencing its style and format.
Elizabeth N. Jackson
Modern China is in the process of immense and dramatic change in the battle to survive in a new global economy. Shanghai has become an emerging center for foreign commerce and as a result is experiencing an influx of immigrant workers from rural areas in China. Many of these immigrants are women in search of new lives and opportunities, but, unfortunately, they are often met with the harsh reality of being a rural outsider on the fringes of a growing urban society. After living in Shanghai for less than a week, I became very interested in the links between globalization and the increase of rural migration. I wanted to find out how these things are affecting women workers. I focused my fieldwork on the sex industry in Shanghai, relying on both discussions with women within the industry as well as thoughts on prostitution from men and women outside the industry. I felt this approach would give me a fuller and more diverse view of the subject. Globalization has played a large role in the development of Shanghai’s economy, however much of rural China cannot compete against this kind of economic development. The resulting economic inequality between rural and urban increases the appeal of areas such a Shanghai for rural workers. These relationships between globalization, rural migration, and the sex industry in China form the basis of my research and draw attention to the paradoxical nature of globalization, which has the power not only to create but also to destroy.
Winds of change have drastically affected the People’s Republic of China over the past twenty years. In 1978, China officially opened its doors to global exchange. Almost instantly the transfer of capital, technologies, and ideas overwhelmed China. The militaristic qualities of the state became increasingly vital to the efficiency of the state, as new sectors were born that seemingly threatened state authority. Much of the state’s obsession for control was directed towards the segments of agency that act independently from the state, but operate under the credo of civil service. This segment of society, referred to as civil society, was effectively weeded out of the Chinese story for the past several decades, but now as globalization has firmly rooted itself within China there is a real possibility that civil society could emerge within China’s industrial labor class. A range of topics such as Chinese state corporatism, the impact of foreign businesses inside China, the interpretation of civil society in a Chinese cultural context, and the ability for any labor organization to gain agency will be investigated. The creation of Chinese industrial labor unions does not precipitate that complete autonomy from state authority must occur, but rather these unions and eventually civil society as a whole could operate under pseudo-autonomy. A political environment where the state allows for unions to truly represent their constituents and unions seek to be included within the state bureaucratic system must be sought out. Only then will there be any possibility of forming cooperation between the forces of the state and civil society and for the existence of civil society to firmly root itself within Chinese culture.
Venues for Sharing
- Participate in an undergraduate Asian studies symposium hosted by Marietta College in Ohio (also an ASIANetwork institution) on September 21-22, 2001.
- Final presentation at an undergraduate research conference (open to other universities and colleges) hosted by Butler University in the spring.
- Write research papers for submission to undergraduate research publications such as Wittenburg University’s East Asian Studies Journal.