TAIWAN, CHINA, JAPAN AND BULGARIA IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE
Maya KELIYAN is Professor, Dr. Habil. in Sociology at Institute for The Study of
Societies and Knowledge at Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia.
Summary of the book:
In this study she focuses on comparative sociological research on Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese and Bulgarian trends of post-modernization, globalization, glocalization and internationalization, through changes in their middle classes formation, recruitment, composition, socio-structural boundaries, consumption patterns, leisure, and lifestyle. What is the value of such an approach? On the one hand, she is following her belief that when sociological study is conducted using a comparative method, fresh insights into studying societies be uncovered and new discoveries revealed. On the other hand, this research is important for fuller comprehension of contemporary society and culture in general. Middle classes lifestyles in Taiwan, China, Japan, and Bulgaria in recent years have been characterized by growing diversification, globalization, internationalization, digitalization, the increasing influence of youth cultures and subcultures, the rising lifestyle power of women (not only as housewives, but also the influence of single new middle class representatives). The aging population and deepening socio-economic inequalities are becoming topics of intense discussion in four studied countries. Bulgarian and Chinese middle classes lifestyles are now moving through stages that Japan and Taiwan have long since passed, including “Westernization”, “MacDonaldization,” consumerism, malling, Americanization, and so on. What kind of conclusions and lessons, both in positive and in negative aspects could be drown from studied societies social development, achievements and problems? This work is not a purely academic effort: the practical-applied aspect of the text is to learn from each of researched societies positive and negative experience concerning middle classes patterns of development and lifestyle changes.
Key words: Taiwan, China, Japan, Bulgaria, middle classes, lifestyle, consumption, patterns, post-modernization.