"Them" and "us" in Shanghai today

Xiaoling Zhang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is an exploration of one of the social aspects of China's dramatic economic transformation - contemporary Chinese literary discourse. Working within the analytic framework of critical discourse analysis, it aims to probe into the issue of human relationships between citizens in urban cities such as Shanghai and temporary rural migrants from all over the country. It focuses on the short story "Little Restaurant" by Wang Anyi, which depicts rural migrants who have come to Shanghai to seek their fortune. It examines both at the lexico-grammatical level such properties as personal references and lexical choices and at the discoursal level such properties as the mode in which the story is written, which in turn reveals evidences of a segregation ideology manifest in an asymmetrical society. The conclusion drawn from the study is that the gulf between "us," the urbanites in Shanghai, and "them," the "provincial people," is created not only by policy-makers but also by people's attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-161
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Issue number158
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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