China, David Riesman, Erich Fromm, C. Wright Mills, Freedom


The following “note from the field” is based off of first-hand observations and experiences had while living and working as an affiliated professor at a Chinese university. Noting the well-known political restrictions existing in China, the piece argues that against dominant Western narratives depicting a lack of freedom within China, there ostensibly appear spaces offering levels of emotional and interactional freedoms greater than what one can experience in the West. This argument is framed within the thought of Western intellectuals such as David Riesman, Erich Fromm, C. Wright Mills and Stjepan Mestrovic, and is advanced by considering the vast historical and cultural changes in recent Chinese history that have created an anomic condition in regards to newly emerging spaces made possible by vast wealth acquisition in the last several decades.