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Civic Duty, Moral Responsibility, and Reciprocity

An Ethnographic Study on Resident-volunteers in the Neighbourhoods of Beijing
Judith Audin
p. 47-56


This paper, which is based on ethnographic field research, analyses the system of resident-volunteers in the neighbourhoods of Beijing. Between co-optation networks, surveillance missions, ritualised practices, and ordinary exchanges of sociability amongst neighbours, volunteering is an interesting form of citizen participation in urban China. The volunteer networks are made up of inhabitants who are selected and involved through the norms of civic duty, personal acquaintance, moral obligation, or persuasion, in order to contribute to the production of local public order. Finally, this specific form of voluntarism reveals, from the perspective of retired people, how shared socio-political practices are created and perpetuated within an institutional volunteering system.

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Full text document will be published online on September 2018.

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Bibliographical reference

Judith Audin, « Civic Duty, Moral Responsibility, and Reciprocity », China Perspectives, 2017/3 | 2017, 47-56.

Electronic reference

Judith Audin, « Civic Duty, Moral Responsibility, and Reciprocity », China Perspectives [Online], 2017/3 | 2017, Online since 01 September 2018, connection on 23 April 2018. URL :

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About the author

Judith Audin

Judith Audin is a postdoctoral fellow at Sciences Po Aix (CHERPA), an associate PhD at EHESS (CECMC) and incoming chief editor of China Perspectives.CEFC (

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