Appels à contribution – Life satisfaction in China

Special Feature on « Life satisfaction in China »

 for proposals: 1 April 2017

Guest-edited by Sandra Poncet, Researcher (CNRS) visiting fellow at French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (Hong Kong), Professor of Economics at Paris School of Economics (University Paris 1).


The Chinese authorities announced their intention by 2020 to build a « Chinese dream », a notion covering national wealth and power as well as people’s happiness. China has developed rapidly and enjoyed fast economic growth (measured by GDP) which, one would expect, would lead to high level of life satisfaction. However greater prosperity has been accompanied by a sharp rise in social inequalities and serious environmental damage which may erode the perceived wellbeing of the Chinese population.

Assessments of happiness and life satisfaction by individuals do not solely reflect changes in material conditions but depend a lot on existing norms and values. China’s rapid development has implications for people’s “moral economies”, which can adjust or fail to adjust to structural changes, with in turn repercussions for life satisfaction.

China provides a unique laboratory in view of the country’s cultural and socio-economic singularities. How have concepts of wellbeing and happiness evolved in China’s context of rapid growth and radical structural changes? What remains of the socialist era legacies? How has self-perceived life satisfaction by individuals in China been modified by consumerism and new patterns of social hierarchy? Answers to these questions will help to evaluate and develop further existing theories of wellbeing.

The objective of this special issue of China Perspectives is to analyze the peculiarities of notion of happiness in China and study the key social, cultural and economic factors that shape wellbeing in China and how they are transformed over time under the momentum of political and economic changes.

However, submissions are by no means limited to these topics. We welcome both theoretical and empirical studies and, in particular, studies that extend theory through application to Chinese context. Purely technical modelling, purely econometric analysis or survey papers will not be appropriate. We particularly welcome articles that exploit fieldwork or analyze new datasets or Chinese first-hand documentary sources to shed light on some of the socioeconomic and behavioral phenomena that are particular to the Chinese context.

The Life satisfaction in China may include, but are not limited to:


Competing visions of wellbeing in China

  • Political discourse of the “China Dream” / Propaganda: How does Xi Jinping’s “China Dream” relate to earlier goals such as the building of a “socialist material and spiritual civilizations”, a “moderately prosperous society” or a “Harmonious Society”?
  • Reception of the political discourse on the “China Dream”
  • Narratives of happiness in China (culture, media, internet, press)
  • Individual objectives and collective norms: “For family happiness”
  • Prosperity, socialism, and “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”
  • Production of indicators of wellbeing in China


Work and Income as determinants of life satisfaction in China

  • Absolute and relative material conditions: Easterlin paradox
  • Labor regimes, privatization and job satisfaction
  • Industrialization and technological progress
  • Migration, relative deprivation and aspirations


Non-monetary determinants of life satisfaction in China

  • Time use: leisure, family, children
  • The role of the community and “for family happiness”
  • Dividing lines: gender, age or generation, hukou, city versus countryside
  • Environmental and health issues
  • Political transformations: civil society and public participation
  • Looking at the repercussions of some specific factors: popular and traditional beliefs, Gaokao, social mobility, one-child policy etc.


Format of submissions

In conformity with China Perspectives’ editorial policy, papers should be rigorous, original contributions to their respective disciplines, while providing readable insights on contemporary China for the general public and scholars from other scientific backgrounds.

Submissions could be in English or French and are particularly welcome from researchers at an early stage of their careers.

  • Full name, title and institutional affiliation
    Contact details
  • 800-1,000 words abstract
  • Submissions must be sent to
  • Upon acceptation, full papers of 8,000 words shall be written according to China Perspectives‘ Style Guide, available here.



  • 1 April 2017: Abstract submission deadline. Please send a 800-1,000 words abstract and 100-word author bio to the guest editor Sandra Poncet ( ).
  • 1 June 2017: notification of accepted contributions
  • 1 December 2017: deadline for full papers, no more than 8,000 words (style guide here)
  • Early submissions are welcome and will be put into the review process as they arrive.
  • All full papers will need to pass the double blind peer-review process. Final acceptance of papers cannot be confirmed until their validation by both peer-reviewers and the editorial committee.
  • Expected publication date: June 2018


About the journal:

An interdisciplinary quarterly journal published in both French and English, China Perspectives provides insightful analysis of the latest trends in the Chinese world. China Perspectives is an anonymously peer-reviewed academic journal. It is referenced in 8 international databases including Scopus. Its authority is ensured by an editorial board made up of reputed scholars. A serious yet readable journal, China Perspectives has already proven essential for sinologists and Asia analysts, but its broad scope and highly informative articles may be of interest to anyone keen on improving their knowledge about Greater China.

More information:

About the CEFC:

The French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC) is a public research centre with a regional remit (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan,) supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research).

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