China's Peasants: The Anthropology of a Revolution

China's Peasants: The Anthropology of a Revolution

by Sulamith Heins Potter, Jack M. Potter
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521355214

ISBN-13: 9780521355216

Pub. Date: 10/28/2003

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

The world's greatest revolution has left its mark on China, yet China remains fully and essentially Chinese. What is it to be a Chinese peasant under these circumstances? This study of Zengbu, a Cantonese community, is the first comprehensive analysis of a rural Chinese society by foreign anthropologists since the Revolution in 1949. From their data gathered using…  See more details below

Overview

The world's greatest revolution has left its mark on China, yet China remains fully and essentially Chinese. What is it to be a Chinese peasant under these circumstances? This study of Zengbu, a Cantonese community, is the first comprehensive analysis of a rural Chinese society by foreign anthropologists since the Revolution in 1949. From their data gathered using anthropological field methods, Jack and Sulamith Potter examine the revolutionary experiences of Zengbu's peasant villagers and document the rapid changeover from Maoist to post-Maoist China. In particular, they seek to explain the persistence of the deep structure of Chinese culture through thirty years of revolutionary praxis.

The authors assess the continuities and changes in rural China, moving from the traditional social organization and cultural life of the prerevolutionary period through the series of large scale efforts to implement planned social change which characterized Maoism - land reform, collectivization, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution. They examine in detail late Maoist society in 1979-80 and go on to describe and analyze the extraordinary changes of the post-Mao years, during which Zengbu was decollectivized, and traditional customs and religious practices reappeared.

Much of the material contained in this highly readable study is unique in the literature on China and will be of interest to the general reader as well as to students and scholars of anthropology and Chinese studies.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521355216
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
10/28/2003
Pages:
376
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.98(d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsviii
List of tablesx
Prefacexi
Notes on the textxiv
1The old "feudal" order: Zengbu before Liberation1
2Establishing the new order36
3The ordeal of collectivization59
4The Cultural Revolution83
5Maoist society: the production team94
6Maoist society: the brigade129
7Maoist society: the commune143
8Impatient aspirations: transition to the post-Mao period158
9The cultural construction of emotion in rural Chinese social life180
10Marriage, household, and family form196
11Chinese birth planning: a cultural account225
12Lineage and collective: structure and praxis251
13Party organization270
14The party ethic: a devotion born of distress and enthusiasm283
15A caste-like system of social stratification: the position of peasants in modern China's social order296
16The Chinese peasants and the world capitalist system313
17The crystallization of post-Mao society: Zengbu in 1985327
References340
Index348

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