This edited volume examines regional differences in social structure in rural China and elaborates the characteristics, reasons and practical implications to policymaking.

In contrast to many existing studies, the book spotlights regional disparities that stem from the varied social compositions of villages and their social relations in rural areas of Northern, Central and Southern China. Three types of rural community structures, ranging from the north to the south of China, are identified, including the segmented village comprised of kinship groups with a high degree of atomization, and the united village resting on a patrilineage-based organization. The editor draws on middle-range theory, organically combining a theoretical framework of the regional variations with empirical studies based on years of fieldwork in rural China. This approach is used throughout the book to analyze topics in four aspects: family relations, social interactions, other notable social issues and rural governance.

The volume will appeal to scholars and students of sociology and Chinese studies, as well as general readers interested in rural Chinese society.

1. Introduction: Regional Variations in Rural China from the Perspective of Social Structure  2. Regional Difference in China's Rural Areas and the Formulation of the Middle-Range Theory  Part 1: Family  3. Regional Variations in Family Development in China's Rural Areas  4. Regional Variations in Family Division in Rural China  5. Regional Difference of Elderly Support Patterns in China's Rural Areas  Part 2: Mianzi and Renqing  6. Regional Difference in Mianzi and Mianzi Competition in China's Rural Society  7. Regional Variations in Renqing in Ceremonial or Ritualized Situations  Part 3: Society  8. Regional Variations in Suicide Incidence in Rural China  9. Studies on China's Bachelors from the Perspective of Regional Difference  10. Regional Difference in the Change of the Social Status of the Elders  Part 4: Governance  11. Regional Difference in Fertility Behavior in China's Rural Areas