The Spiral Road / Edition 2

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The leading Party cadre of Lin Village in southeast China describes in this book nearly fifty years of turbulent events that affected individuals and families in the village: the downfall of the landlords during the Land Reform, the rise of poor peasants to political power, the political fanaticism of the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and recent efforts to restore rational, pragmatic policies in China’s countryside.The magnitude of change in Lin Village since 1949 has been considerable. Most villagers have benefited from tangible improvements in agriculture, education, and medicine, and they have developed a sense of political participation and integration into the national political arena. Significantly, while these dynamic changes have been taking place, the observance of cultural tradition has persisted. Attempts made by the government to change “feudalistic” beliefs and practices have yet to make any lasting impression on village life.The second edition includes two new chapters, based on the author’s continuing visits to China. One chapter details changes in Lin Village, such as Taiwanese investment of capital, large-scale production, international marketing, and new lifestyles. Physically, Lin Village has become a small market town with large department stores and daily vegetable markets; and living in European-style villas, driving imported automobiles, and walking with a cellular phone in hand has become the prototype of the successful person. The other chapter focuses on the continuing story of Mr. Ye: his ideas for expanding the villagers’ wealth, his wheeling and dealing to set up lucrative businesses in Lin Village, and his arrangements to secure jobs for his family members and close kin.More than an account of one village, this book documents for readers the cataclysmic changes of China’s entire post-liberation era, detailing their effects in a personalized style. An American anthropologist of Chinese descent, Huang Shu-min employs participant-observation and personal interviews to shape this unique view of rural China today and to delineate some of the misconceptions held by Western academics.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
An exceptional look at contemporary rural China. Huang (anthropology, Iowa State) skillfully penetrates the barriers of culture, class, etc., to reveal life in a coastal village. The book covers the past 40 years through the perspective of Ye Wende, village leader and local Communist party secretary, whom Huang met in 1984 when he went to southeastern China to teach and do fieldwork. From Ye we hear about events that have shaken rural China: land reform, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution. The rural, peasant perspective of this book makes it dramatically different from others. Only Anita Chan et al., Chen Village: The Present History of a Peasant Community in Mao's China (LJ 5/1/84), provides comparable insight. Huang's book, however, is more readable and less an academic treatise. Although published by an academic house, this compelling work deserves a wide general audience.-- David D. Buck, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813334479
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1998
  • Series: Conflict and Social Change Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 276
  • Lexile: 1150L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 0.62 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Huang Shu-min is professor of anthropology at Iowa State University. Huang Shu-min is professor of anthropology at Iowa State University.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword to First Edition
Preface to Second Edition
Introduction 1
1 Prologue 11
Reflections on My Coming 12
Lin Village: First Impressions 16
Gelting Acquainted 19
2 Family History 25
A Walk to the Tomb 25
The Importance of Geomancy 35
3 The Liberation 41
The Land Reform 42
School Years 49
4 Hunger, Hunger 55
The Great Leap Forward 57
Becoming a Political Activist 64
5 Joining the Act 69
The Four Cleanups 71
The Campaign 78
6 Return Home 87
A Peasant's Story 87
Cultural Revolution 88
Ye's Marriage and Family 98
7 Security Head 105
Ye Settles a Dispute 107
Internal Conflicts in the Village 109
More Village Crimes 120
8 Prosperous Years 129
The Strategy of Prosperity 136
Back-Door Connections 143
9 The Breakup 151
Ritual Celebration 151
Ritual Celebration: Analysis 154
Family Division 157
Dismantling the Collective 162
10 Village Cadres 175
Family Planning Campaign 175
Implementing the Policy 182
Ye's Analysis 183
Ye as Mediator 185
Ye's Programs 191
11 Village Change in the 1990s 199
Village Population 200
Social Problems Associated with Increased Population 204
Village Security Force 205
Theft in the Village 207
12 Whither Lin Village? 211
Lin Village's Recent Change 212
Ye's Female Companion 216
Village Party Election 217
The Revival of the Lin Lineage 219
Casting the Ballots 221
Ye's Analysis of the Election and Arrangement for Wang 222
Notes 227
Bibliography 231
Glossary of Chinese Characters 235
Index 245
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