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Table of Content

    20 May 2024, Volume 44 Issue 3
    A Study of Piecework Wage System of Food-Delivery Platforms under the Influence of Digital Taylorism
    LIANG Meng
    2024, 44(3):  1-26. 
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    This article argues that the pay system is the key to understanding the high-speed and risky runnings of Chinese food delivery-riders. The research on piece-rate wage system in industrial production shows that the remuneration system not only affects the behavior of workers from the economic perspective, but also plays an important role in shaping the transformation of workers from pure labor power consciousness to pure labor consciousness, and is an important foundation for the over-commodification of labor. This article summarizes the rules of dispatching, rewarding, and penalising in the piece-rate system of food delivery platforms, and proposes that the food delivery piece-rate system, although formally inheriting the simple cumulative logic of “more pay for more work” of the piece-rate system of industrial production, has essentially become an entrepreneurial game of high inputs, high returns, and high-risks, as well as an essentially accelerated logic of accumulation. Also by presenting the delivery-riders’ entrepreneurial consciousness shaped by the pay system of self-management, transition, freedom, and equality, the study further suggests that the change of the remuneration system of takeaway platforms implies that the digital Taylor system in the platform economy is not a natural continuation of the classical Taylor system of industrial labor, but rather possesses the unique characteristics of both subjective and objective aspects. In terms of objectivity, it is manifested in the transformation of management forms due to digital technologies, including the introduction of algorithms for work process planning, as well as standardized and quantitative measurement of subjective and objective labor outcomes. On the subjective side, this is reflected in the shift in the nature of management logic, whereby all risks in the production, transportation, and consumption processes are shared by the worker, and the level of remuneration is affected by the risks rather than the simply accumulation of labor results. The relationship between labor and pay is no longer a deterministic one based on the traditional principle of “more pay for more work”, but rather an outcome through both effort and risk, that is, more work does not necessarily lead to more pay.
    Mutual Help,Organization and Recognition:Research on Multi-Dimensional Dynamic Mechanism of Volunteer Service in Labor Practice—A Case Study of Self-Employed Truck Drivers
    MA Dan
    2024, 44(3):  27-56. 
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    Taking the volunteer service practices of self-employed truck drivers in China as an example,this paper explores the multidimensional dynamic mechanism of volunteer service from the perspective of labor. It concludes that the dynamic mechanism of truck drivers’ volunteer service is a multidimensional framework driven by the micro labor system,the meso organizational process and the macro social status perception,showing a dynamic social process that extends from mutual assistance within the professional group to external social welfare. Among them,the “island effect” of atomized labor and mutual assistance are the objective basis of the mechanism,the organizational process and interaction within and outside the public welfare system provide institutional safeguards and cultural support,and the low status perception and the need for recognition constitute a continuous value drive. This paper argues that the expansion of the multidimensional dynamic mechanism framework based on labor practice shows the processual characteristics of the dynamic mechanism of volunteer service. For most of the volunteer services that last for many times,the dynamic mechanism not only exists before the volunteer activities,but is also reproduced continuously in the process of volunteer services,and accumulates in the results of volunteer services to become the driving force of the next volunteer activity. The transportation volunteer activities of truck drivers also challenge the definition of unpaid volunteer services,and shake the simplistic dualism of “labor” and “work”. More importantly,this paper introduces “recognition”,a core concept of modern social critical theory,into the empirical research of sociology,so that the theory of recognition gains the vitality from social reality. For truck driver volunteers,recognition not only becomes the driving force of their sustainability,but the contempt for not being recognized also promotes their determination to“do public service for recognition”,thus highlighting the social integration connotation of recognition.
    Society as Condition:Hannah Arendt on Modernity and the Pariah
    SHEN Yao
    2024, 44(3):  57-94. 
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    The Jewish question holds an importance that transcends times. Anti-Semitism and the subsequent series of catastrophes as the emblematic events of the Western 20th century have been integrated into the scope of social theory, serving as a significant supplement to classical social theory. Marx, Durkheim, and Simmel each dealt with their “Jewish experience” in their own ways, presenting it as an objective issue in social theory. Amidst the comprehensive crisis of the 20th century in Western society, Arendt, building on the foundation of classic theorists’“Jewish propositions”, offered new perspectives and directions for the Jewish question. She discovered that Jews exist both “within society” and “outside society”. Here, “society” is not just a living environment or experience, but also a “condition”. The term “pariah” objectively describes the relationship between Jews and “society”. This paper first discusses the development of Western modern nation-states and the emancipation of Jews, then focuses on the situation and status of “wealthy Jews” and “Jewish intellectuals” in modern Western society. It demonstrates how the prominent social status of a small number of wealthy Jews in the rise of modern nation-states is linked to the tragic fate of all Jews, and how the tension between the Jewish intelligentsia and the European high society has given rise to a representative introspective spirituality. Finally, the paper attempts to discuss the Jewish question in social theory and position Arendt’s exploration of this issue within this theoretical context.
    From Melancholic Individual to Great Mind:A Study of William James’s Pragmatic View of Individual Religion
    XIAO Yonghong
    2024, 44(3):  95-119. 
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    At the end of the nineteenth century, the turn to personal religion initiated by William James profoundly influenced the reconstruction of the American civil religious tradition. This paper attempts to discuss James’s unique approach to the reconstruction of moral life in modern society and its complex relationship with the American civil religious tradition in the light of the controversial intellectual history. James’s study of personal religion begins with the dilemma of melancholic individuals, and by dissecting melancholy as an existential experience, he finds that behind the melancholic experience lies a concern for universal destiny and a quest to transcend the finiteness of the self, but this quest is unable to be transformed into active moral life because it rests in the negative view of the self and of the external world. In order to overcome this crisis of moral life, James establishes a connection between the spiritual problems of modern individual and the religious tradition of salvation, and then reinterprets the vital meanings and emotional power of the salvation experience to liberate the narrow personality in the light of faith’s guidance for life. James suggests that it is the individual embodiment of the universal destiny of humankind by the individual who has had the experience of redemption that provides the mechanism for activating the sacredness of modern democracy, and that redemption brings with it a sympathetic understanding of the situation of fellow human beings, endowing the individual with the patience and resilience to strive for higher moral ideals. Thus, the abstract value base of civic religious traditions is transformed into embodied practice in social democracy. Articulating this reinvented tradition of sacredness helps us not only to overcome melancholy in moral life, but also to present the new dynamics of the American social democratic tradition, which implicates a sympathetic view of fellow’s life significance.
    The Legitimation of Institutionalized Elderly Care: A Family-Institution Cooperation
    ZHUO Weijia
    2024, 44(3):  120-146. 
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    Through field observations, parent-children paired-interviews and the text analyses of service contracts and management norms in three elderly care institutions, this study investigates how institutional elderly care as a new form of elderly support has been accepted in China. The study finds that it is the cooperation between families and institutions that has led to a change in perceptions of aged-care, and that the legitimation of institutional elderly care would be difficult to achieve through the efforts of only one of the two parties. This cooperation arises out of the strong sociocultural resistance that both sides have to face in the transition from family care to market-based institutional care. On the one hand, parents and their adult children continue their effort to justify their choice of institutional care, and are compelled to accept the new cognition of institutional care while actively responding to external stigma. In this process, parents and children follow different logics of action, with the former focusing more on self-persuasion while the latter on responding to external prejudices. On the other hand, care facilities subvert negative stereotypes through the pursuit of professionalism, institutional policy, and socio-cultural recognition. While emotional and functional exchanges between generations have been strengthened, institutional elderly care has gradually gained acceptance in China. By sorting out the behaviors of the families as individual actors and the institutions as organizational actors, as well as examining the relationship between the two, this study explains the mechanism of acceptance of the emerging institutional elderly care in China, where the traditional filial piety culture is deeply rooted. The study compensates for the existing literature’s long-standing neglect of the behaviors of institutions and redresses its over-emphasis on the tension between the family and the institution but not on the cooperation between the two, and elevates the discussion beyond care towards the cognitive realm.
    National Construction and Music Transformation: The Invention and Intrinsic Tension of the School Song
    CHEN Lang
    2024, 44(3):  147-172. 
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    The transformation of modern Chinese music began in the early 20th century. Its core manifestation was the absorption of Western music theories and forms, resulting in new music that differed from traditional Chinese music. This transformation originated from the practical need for national construction. This article discusses the complex connection between national construction and music transformation, focusing on the first kind of new music in modern China, the “School Song”. Liang Qichao envisioned a new kind of music that would foster the New People, possessing the two core features of “universalism” and “unity of poetry and music”. Since Liang’s understanding of music originated in the Confucian tradition of court music, the new music envisioned by Liang was in fact a new form of court music. Liang’s vision inspired the creation of the “School Song”, giving rise to the emergence of two distinct types--the universalist music represented by Shen Xingong and the poetic and musical songs represented by Li Shutong. Additionally, there were attempts to reconcile music theories, such as the music theory of Zeng Zhimin. Overall, the music of universalism prioritized simple forms of music composition such as simple scores and vernacular texts to make the songs as accessible as possible in order to promote the concept of the New People. The music of integrating poetry and music, on the other hand, called for the use of compositional forms such as pentameter and classical literary texts, emphasizing musicality and the cultural traditions embedded in classical poetry and literature. Different theoretical assumptions underlie different kinds of music. The tension between universalism and poetic-musical unity embodies the disagreement between the theory of the nation-state and the tradition of court music, and lays down the basic issue of the transformation of modern Chinese music, which has had a significant historical impact.
    Generating Macro-Level Data Using Latent Variable Modeling and Dynamic Bayesian Methods
    ZHANG Gaoxiang, CHEN Zhe, CHEN Yunsong
    2024, 44(3):  173-219. 
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    In contemporary quantitative sociological research,the testing of causal mechanisms and macro theories has driven researchers’ need for high-quality time-series data at the district cluster level. However,sociological research suffers from significant shortcomings in accessing large-scale,long time-span tracking data compared to fields such as economics. While the aggregation of individual social survey data from multiple sources to generate panel data is an important way to improve data scarcity,it is also constrained by the limitations of the spatial and temporal distribution of social surveys and the variability across surveys. In this paper,we introduce a dynamic Bayesian latent variable modeling framework designed to facilitate the generation of complete panel data at the cluster level. The implementation of this framework is demonstrated through a practical example,and its efficacy is highlighted in comparison to several common missing data imputation techniques. The results show that the dynamic Bayesian latent variable model has noticeable advantages in terms of temporal-spatial imputation,multi-dimensional social index integration,and even the inclusion of parameter uncertainty. This method has potential in the estimating and imputing missing data for years and regions within surveys,yielding a clear picture of its future appliance in panel data generation and dimension integration for macro-level sociological research. However,the practical application of this approach still faces certain limitations,such as data availability,“synonym repetition”,and insufficient sensitivity to drastic changes. In view of this,this paper proposes corresponding optimization strategies to enhance the applicability and flexibility of this modeling framework,thereby expanding its application scope in the field of social sciences. The research in this paper provides valuable insights for practical application of the dynamic Bayesian latent variable modeling approach,offering inspiration for future related studies.
    Institutional Change and Perceived Mobility of Urban and Rural Residents in China
    HUANG Chao
    2024, 44(3):  220-241. 
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    Perceived social mobility is people’s subjective feelings about their own social mobility experience, which is an integral part of social mentality and an important perspective for understanding the Chinese mentality order. Unlike previous studies that reduce perceived mobility to individual psychology, this study delves into the world of meaning and explains the distributional characteristics and formation mechanisms of urban and rural residents’ perceived mobility against the background of changes in the urban-rural resource allocation system and the household registration system. Based on data from the 2010-2021 China General Social Survey(CGSS), the study finds that:(1) The distribution of perceived mobility is shifted upward, with the majority of residents having positive mobility perceptions, which is related to the general increase in income and living standards brought about by sustained economic growth and upgrading of industrial and occupational structures. (2)There are significant differences in perceived mobility among the four groups: rural residents, floating population, “agricultural to non-agricultural” migrants and urban residents. Perceived mobility is most positive among rural residents, followed by floating population and “agricultural to non-agricultural” migrants, and most negative among urban residents. Perceived mobility is related to the tension between people’s subjective cognitive schemas about social status and mobility and their objective reality.(3)There is an intergenerational effect on the urban-rural difference in perceived mobility, with the urban-rural difference being more pronounced among older generations who have experienced the planned economy than among younger generations. To a certain extent, this generational difference also confirms the impact of institutional change on perceived mobility. This study analyzes urban and rural residents’perceived mobility from a holistic perspective, providing insights into the complex relationship between institutional change and social mentality.