頁數：107﹣151 鄉村精英在疫情期間的身分轉化： 以禮物交換為促能媒介的視角 Cross-domain Identity Transformation of Rural Elites through the Pandemic: Gift Exchange as an Enabling Medium
Yuting Sun, Yong Zhou, Chaoyun Liang
elite circulation; gift exchange; identity transformation; old-new alteration; returning elites; skilled farmers
This research examines a case of poverty alleviation through industrialization in east rural China to explore the identity transformation of returning elites when they engage in rural field. The study employs field research and applies the theory of elite circulation in which gift exchange is regarded as an enabling medium to accelerate circulation. The results reveal that a diversified, flexible, and dynamic gift-driven action strategy that is shaped by different types of gifts helps promote the cross-domain identity transformation of elites and facilitates circulation between those with different social statuses and the old and new elites. The highlighted findings are as follows. (1) The knowledge and social capital that elites have accumulated through urban experiences are regarded as a gift for their returning village. (2) Poverty alleviation through industrialization is perceived as a gift that transforms the elites from urban cultural elites to village economic elites. (3) Voluntary helping actions are perceived as gifts that facilitate the continuous transformation of village economic elites into village societal elites. (4) The emergence of the large-scale public crisis of COVID-19 has brought opportunities for strategic actions. The returning elites have carried out a series of gift-like disaster relief operations, which have brought diversified identity transformations and strategic disaster relief operations. (5) Returning elites have empowered skilled farmers with symbolic gifts, which provide these farmers with opportunities to enter the elite hierarchy; however, these new entries could be rapidly displaced by newer empowered farmers, because of the strength of inertial thinking and the weakness of assuming professional roles. This study further explores the dynamic pattern of rural governance and the logic of poverty alleviation under the reconstruction of rural areas that are a product of the identity transformation of rural elites and circulation between hierarchies, which are subsequently shaped by the poverty-alleviating effect of industrialization in rural areas.