2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Paradigm or Crisis?
“The Everyday” in Modern Chinese History

Ling-ling Lien

Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica

This article examines recent scholarly works on the daily lives of urbanites in modern China, particularly focusing on how these works articulate the newly developed concept of “everyday life.” In light of the methodology of German Alltagsgeschichte and Italian microstoria, these words attempt to unveil the history of the silent and the silenced.  To what extent, however, do these works break new ground in Chinese history by employing the so-called new approach of “the everyday”?  To better identify the concept of “the everyday,” this article first introduces how it has been developed in Western scholarship. In the rest of the article, I discuss how China scholars conduct research on urban people’s daily lives.  In its conclusion, this article also suggests the potential of the study of the everyday for China research and the possible contributions of this methodology.


Keywords: everyday life, petite urbanites, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu