Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Middle Classes
(1,413 words)

Although one apparent characteristic of the reform era in the People's Republic of China (PRC) is the emergence of new middle classes, this notion is almost necessarily contested. The middle class is usually regarded as part of the social structure of capitalism, and Western capitalism at that. Indeed, identification of nascent or realized middle classes is frequently taken as a marker of the homogenizing effect of modernization: some commentators on China started to talk about the emergence of a new middle …

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Goodman, David S.G., “Middle Classes”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 11 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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