Shop Content Created By Professionals For Professionals

Free Delivery On Orders Above $20 In Singapore


Being Modern in China

Paperback By Paul Willis
Regular price
Sale price
Regular price
Sold out
Unit price

- FREE Delivery on orders above $20 within Singapore.
- International Shipping & Tax calculated at checkout.

Product Description

This book analyses modernity and tradition in China today and how they combine in striking ways in the Chinese school. Paul Willis – the leading ethnographer and author of Learning to Labour – shows how China has undergone an internal migration not only of masses of workers but also of a mental and ideological kind to new cultural landscapes of meaning, which include worship of the glorified city, devotion to consumerism, and fixation upon the smartphone and the internet.

 Massive educational expansion has been a precondition for explosive economic growth and technical development, but at the same time the school provides a cultural stage for personal and collective experience. In its closed walls and the inescapability of its ‘scores’, an astonishing drama plays out between the new and the old, with a tapestry of intricate human meanings woven of small tragedies and triumphs, secret promises and felt betrayals, helping to produce not only exam results but cultural orientations and occupational destinies.

 By exploring the cultural dimension of everyday experience as it is lived out in the school, this book sheds new light on the enormous transformations that have swept through China and created the kind of society that it is today: a society that is obsessed with the future and at the same time structured by and in continuous dialogue with its past.

Product Details

Format: Paperback, 240 pages Language: English
Dimension: 22.61cm x 15.24cm x 1.78cm ISBN10: 1509538313
Weight: 318g ISBN13: 9781509538317
Publication Date: 04 Oct 2019 Publisher: Polity Press

About Author

Paul Willis is an ethnographer and cultural theorist and a founding editor of Ethnography.

Product Reviews


‘Written in a lucid and witty style, Paul Willis’s book provides a uniquely penetrating lens to scrutinize the deeply held meanings and cultural nuances in China’s relentless pursuit of modernity. A landmark contribution to China studies as well as the sociology of education.

’Yunxiang Yan, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of The Individualization of Chinese Society ‘Paul Willis is a wonderful guide in surveying China’s jarring juxtapositions. His analysis of the ideological imbrication of communism, consumerism and Confucianism, and his close attention to the feelings of shame, stress and guilt experienced by the losers of China’s new rat race, are particularly insightful.

’Shehzad Nadeem, City University of New York“definitely worth reading”Michael W. Apple, Beijing Normal University"Experimenting to break the boundary between academic and popular writing, Willis’ account of his China experience, with its poetic and forceful prose, is a great pleasure to read."China Review International"Willis has produced a work which deserves the wide readership that he was aiming for."Journal of International and Comparative Education"The book is riveting and bristles with profound insights about contemporary China that leaves the reader in awe of Willis’s brilliant scholarship."American Journal of Sociology


Domestic Delivery (Singapore)
- Your order will be delivered to you within 1-3 business days.
- We are delighted to be able to offer FREE delivery on all orders above $20 in Singapore.

International Delivery
- Your order will be delivered to you within 7-30 business days.
- Any applicable import duties, taxes (including VAT) and shipping charges will depend on your destination country. All chargers will be displayed at checkout.

All prices shown on the Content Binded website are in Singaporean dollars. The prices shown are inclusive of GST.

The best way to contact us is by filling in the online contact form within the Contact Us section. The form is designed to help you specify the query that you have and then direct it to a member of our customer support team that is best suited to deal with it.

We work hard to deal with your queries within 24 hours.We also welcome to receiving any suggestions or feedback as to how we can improve. All emails are read by a member of a customer support team. Please send your emails to

We currently ship to countries and regions seen below.

- Singapore
- Brunei Darussalam
- Hong Kong
- Indonesia
- Japan
- Korea (South)
- Macau
- Malaysia
- Philippines
- Taiwan
- Thailand
- Vietnam