Capitalism Out of the Shadow: The Emergence and Transformation of China's Education and Training Industry


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships




My book rethinks China’s market transition by investigating how and why China’s education industry evolved from a component of the socialist education system to a highly privatized and marketized sector despite the systematic restrictions placed on private ownership and for-profit activities by the Chinese state. I draw on interviews, archives and observation data on the transformation of 30 Chinese education organizations from 1980 to 2018. I illustrate how private education entrepreneurs pushed privatization and marketization from below by maneuvering within ambiguous environments. This book proposes a novel bottom-up trajectory of the rise of the private economy, emphasizing how public-goods-related industries emerged under the state’s nose in metropolitan areas.