The Peasant in Postsocialist China: History, Politics, and Capitalism

The Peasant in Postsocialist China: History, Politics, and Capitalism

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Alexander F. Day
Cambridge University Press, 7/18/2013
EAN 9781107039674, ISBN10: 1107039673

Hardcover, 242 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 1.7 cm
Language: English

The role of the peasant in society has been fundamental throughout China's history, posing difficult, much-debated questions for Chinese modernity. Today, as China becomes an economic superpower, the issue continues to loom large. Can the peasantry be integrated into a new Chinese capitalism, or will it form an excluded and marginalized class? Alexander F. Day's highly original appraisal explores the role of the peasantry throughout Chinese history and its importance within the development of post-socialist-era politics. Examining the various ways in which the peasant is historicized, Day shows how different perceptions of the rural lie at the heart of the divergence of contemporary political stances and of new forms of social and political activism in China. Indispensable reading for all those wishing to understand Chinese history and politics, The Peasant in Postsocialist China is a new point of departure in the debate as to the nature of tomorrow's China.

peasants, history, and politics
1. The peasantry and social stagnation
the roots of the reform-era liberal narrative
2. From peasant to citizen
liberal narratives on peasant dependency
3. Capitalism and the peasant
new left narratives
4. 'Deconstructing modernization'
Wen Tiejun and 'Sannong wenti'
5. Into the soil
ethnographies of social disintegration
6. New rural reconstruction and the attempt to organize the peasantry

Advance praise: 'Rural China, the source of the Chinese Revolution, has suffered marginalization, exploitation, and plunder under developmentalist reform policies since the 1990s, when the PRC leadership decisively embarked on a path of incorporation in global capitalism. In this well-researched and engaged study, Alexander F. Day critically analyzes the ideological debates occasioned by the 'agrarian question', and traces efforts by activists of various political stripes to resolve it. The 'underside' of the phenomenal so-called 'China model' is recognized widely, including by the regime itself, but is framed more often than not as a problem of sustained development. What makes this study unique and invaluable is bringing to light efforts to remedy it that also aspire to lend some credence to the regime's ritual claims to socialism.' Arif Dirlik, Liang Qichao Memorial Distinguished Visiting Professor, Tsinghua University, Beijing