In the second half of the 1990s, I now and then assisted James Farrer as he was doing field work for his groundbreaking book on the sexual revolution in Shanghai, Opening Up: Youth Sex Culture and Market Reform in Shanghai. So, it is interesting to hear him revisit that book, here in the Shanghai Journal:
I think that when I wrote the book I was worried about exaggerating the scope of these changes. Now, I think the book probably doesn’t do enough to suggest the scope of the changes in sexual culture that I was seeing. Some of the individual cases that I saw as rather extreme back then strike me as rather mainstream now.
James has become one of the leading experts in this field, both in China and Japan. His current research focuses on foreigners in Shanghai. James Farrer’s first conclusions:
First, that Shanghai has become an immigrant destination with a large community of long-term foreign settlers, and, two, the development of Shanghai as a global city is shaped very much by the presence and activities of this multinational foreign community.