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Patrolling the Revolution: Worker Militias, Citzenship, and the Modern Chinese State

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Overview

This pioneering study explores the role of working-class militias as vanguard and guardian of the Chinese Revolution. The book begins with the origins of urban militias in the late nineteenth century and follows their development to the present day. Elizabeth J. Perry focuses on the institution of worker militias as a vehicle for analyzing the changing (yet enduring) impact of China's revolutionary heritage on subsequent state-society relations. She also incorporates a strong comparative perspective, examining the influence of revolutionary militias on the political trajectories of the United States, France, the Soviet Union, and Iran. Based on exhaustive archival research, the work raises fascinating questions about the construction of revolutionary citizenship; the distinctions among class, community, and creed; the open-ended character of revolutionary movements; and the path dependency of institutional change. All readers interested in deepening their understanding of the Chinese Revolution and in the nature of revolutionary change more generally will find this an invaluable contribution.

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Editorial Reviews

Far Eastern Economic Review
With an approach at once part historian, part political scientist, Elizabeth Perry looks at the role played by popular Chinese militias in shaping revolutionary political forces, beginning with the armed uprisings in 1920s Shanghai. . . . Perry illustrates with her trademark eye for detail and historical poignancy 'the institutional inversion of the Cultural Revolution.'
Choice
Using Chinese archival and other primary sources spanning the better part of the 20th century, Perry offers a fascinating case study of 'institutional inversion' in the role of worker militias. . . . A must read for scholars of China's modern history and politics. .. . Highly recommended. Graduate students/faculty.
— Suzanne Ogden, Northeastern University
China Quarterly
The heart of Patrolling the Revolution is a comprehensive, exquisitely wrought history of a wide range of institutions in 20th-century China that Elizabeth Perry groups under the umbrella term 'militia.'
— Marc Blecher
China Journal
Excellent and readable....An original, comprehensive, and exhaustively researched history of the relationship between revolutionaries and society in China seen through the prism of pickets and militias, and a welcome rethinking of theories and approaches. It is clearly argued and well written. Despite its historical focus, it asks searching questions about the contemporary relevance of its findings to troubling issues of citizenship everywhere, from Beijing to Washington and Baghdad.
— Gregor Benton
Joseph W. Esherick
A wonderful, compelling, and thought-provoking work. From the classic Perry introduction, with its masterful mapping of the theoretical terrain, to the clear, richly documented narrative chapters, this book is a pleasure to read.
Michael Tsin
A major contribution to the literature on revolutions and on the Chinese revolution in particular.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Elizabeth Perry's new study possesses all of the virtues that we have come to expect from its author's publications. Patrolling the Revolution is ambitiously conceived, fluidly written, meticulously researched, and filled with both fascinating empirical detail and sophisticated engagements, with broad debates on the dynamics of political contention. An impressive contribution to a Rowman & Littlefield series that had already, in remarkably short time, firmly established a reputation as an important venue for the publication of major new works on modern China.
CHOICE - Suzanne Ogden
Using Chinese archival and other primary sources spanning the better part of the twentieth century, Perry offers a fascinating case study of 'institutional inversion' in the role of worker militias. . . . A must read for scholars of China's modern history and politics. . . . Highly recommended. Graduate students/faculty.
Steve Smith
Perry explores with admirable insight the tensions within, and interactions between, the revolutionary project and the larger political and social environment. The book is impressively well researched, lucidly organized, and written with characteristic clarity. There is remarkable thematic and comparative range—still all too rare in our profession.
The China Quarterly - Marc Blecher
The heart of Patrolling the Revolution is a comprehensive, exquisitely wrought history of a wide range of institutions in twentieth-century China that Elizabeth Perry groups under the umbrella term 'militia.'
The China Journal - Gregor Benton
Excellent and readable. . . . An original, comprehensive, and exhaustively researched history of the relationship between revolutionaries and society in China seen through the prism of pickets and militias, and a welcome rethinking of theories and approaches. It is clearly argued and well written. Despite its historical focus, it asks searching questions about the contemporary relevance of its findings to troubling issues of citizenship everywhere, from Beijing to Washington and Baghdad.
Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom
Elizabeth Perry's new study possesses all of the virtues that we have come to expect from its author's publications. Patrolling the Revolution is ambitiously conceived, fluidly written, meticulously researched, and filled with both fascinating empirical detail and sophisticated engagements, with broad debates on the dynamics of political contention. An impressive contribution to a Rowman & Littlefield series that had already, in remarkably short time, firmly established a reputation as an important venue for the publication of major new works on modern China.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742539198
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Series: State & Society East Asia Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 374
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth J. Perry is the Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Institutional Origins
Chapter 2: Shanghai's Three Armed Uprisings, 1926–1927
Chapter 3: China's First Leninist Party-State, 1927–1949
Chapter 4: China's Second Leninist Party-State, 1949–1965
Chapter 5: The Proletarian Cultural Revolution, 1966–1976
Chapter 6: Patrolling the Post-Mao Reforms

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