Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Amy Hanser ─ Opting Out? Gated Consumption, Infant Formula, and China’s Affluent Urban Consumers

Thursday, March 24, 2016

4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room

Affluent Chinese consumers are increasingly “opting out” of the Chinese marketplace, drawing upon their social networks and superior economic resources to purchase foreign infant formula that they believe is untainted by contact with China’s suspect markets and untrustworthy distributional channels. Based on interview and media sources, Hanser and her collaborator Jialin Li document these consumer practices and characterize them as highly privatized forms of “gated consumption” that reflect broader patterns of Chinese middle-class lifestyles. As a strategy for dealing with food safety concerns and marketplace distrust, gated consumption is seemingly apolitical and individualized yet at the same time exemplifies the fragility of the Chinese party-state’s promises of prosperity and material well-being.

Download the paper here.

Amy Hanser is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia

The format of the China Initiative research seminar is an hour and a half long discussion of a pre-circulated working paper. There is no presentation but an informal discussion of the paper. Attendees will include graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty who share an interest in the China Initiatives broad areas of interdisciplinary scholarship (http://watson.brown.edu/china/)

China Initiative