7-10 NOVEMBRE 2012

Facultat de Geografia i Història - Universitat de Barcelona


  • Call for Papers (tancat)
  • Ponents
  • Assistents
  • Dimecres 7/11/2012

    Dijous 8/11/2012

    Divendres 9/11/2012

    Dissabte 10/11/2012

    Dijous 8 de Novembre de 2012, 16:00h

    The Moral Economy of Chinese Home BuyersHousing Agencies and Post-purchase Conflicts in China

    Mengqi Wang (Brandeis University, USA)

    Department of Anthropology (mqwang@brandeis.edu)



    Functioning as the marketing departments of real estate companies, housing agencies in China provide spaces where salespeople (who are also employees of the real estate company) and home buyers come together to negotiate the business of home purchasing. Building models are displayed and promotion events are held in these housing agencies. In 2011, following the significant decrease in housing prices implemented by some real estate companies in China, conflicts and even violent confrontations erupted between home sellers and home owners, in particular those who had purchased their homes just before the drop in prices. In these conflicts, some housing agencies were vandalized by angry home buyers who were seeking “compensation” from real estate companies. Based on fieldwork conducted in China’s housing agencies before and after the decrease in housing prices, this paper interprets the conflict between home buyers and real estate companies in light of the institutional ambiguity of housing policies and the incongruity of ideologies related to housing in post-reform China. Analyzing these post-purchase conflicts with E. P. Thompson’s concept of moral economy, I argue that the political and ideological indeterminacy in post-reform China enables citizens to articulate available ideologies and comes to terms with the social injustice that has been inflicted upon them.