So, I didn’t want to hit with a sledgehammer in the post, but here is a little more explanation. In a now bygone era, the danwei was a company that provided a full range of social services including housing, child care, etc. from cradle to grave…at least that was the promise. It didn’t really exist long enough to fulfill the promise. The companies have been more or less privatized. To the extent that anyone gets that kind of treatment these days, it is the managers (quasi-owners, really) who do well. Still, these occasional treats are a nod to the old danwei, and represent either the loss of the danwei or concrete proof that it is not entirely dead. I would suggest the former, but is it all bad that a year’s supply of toilet paper or cooking oil shows up once in a while? It’s better than the kick in the ass the part time academic gets for his/her trouble in the “advanced” west, isn’t it?
I haven’t been sticking around long enough to get the stuff the last few years, but I was especially happy to see the toilet paper. As to post-submission, I believe “total submission” would more accurately capture the condition. Final defense in September.
I work in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. I specialize in cultural sociology of education (esp. of Mainland China), critical geography, and cultural change.