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The Cultural Revolution at the Margins: Chinese Socialism in Crisis
     

The Cultural Revolution at the Margins: Chinese Socialism in Crisis

by Yiching Wu
 

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Mao Zedong envisioned a great struggle to "wreak havoc under the heaven" when he launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966. But as radicalized Chinese youth rose up against Party officials, events quickly slipped from the government's grasp, and rebellion took on a life of its own. Turmoil became a reality in a way the Great Leader had not foreseen. The Cultural<

Overview

Mao Zedong envisioned a great struggle to "wreak havoc under the heaven" when he launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966. But as radicalized Chinese youth rose up against Party officials, events quickly slipped from the government's grasp, and rebellion took on a life of its own. Turmoil became a reality in a way the Great Leader had not foreseen. The Cultural Revolution at the Margins recaptures these formative moments from the perspective of the disenfranchised and disobedient rebels Mao unleashed and later betrayed.

The Cultural Revolution began as a "revolution from above," and Mao had only a tenuous relationship with the Red Guard students and workers who responded to his call. Yet it was these young rebels at the grassroots who advanced the Cultural Revolution's more radical possibilities, Yiching Wu argues, and who not only acted for themselves but also transgressed Maoism by critically reflecting on broader issues concerning Chinese socialism. As China's state machinery broke down and the institutional foundations of the PRC were threatened, Mao resolved to suppress the crisis. Leaving out in the cold the very activists who had taken its transformative promise seriously, the Cultural Revolution devoured its children and exhausted its political energy.

The mass demobilizations of 1968-69, Wu shows, were the starting point of a series of crisis-coping maneuvers to contain and neutralize dissent, producing immense changes in Chinese society a decade later.

Editorial Reviews

Arif Dirlik
The Cultural Revolution at the Margins aims to make the Cultural Revolution thinkable, to rescue it from the relentless effort both in the PRC and abroad to consign it to the proverbial dustbin of history as an aberration or a disaster. Yiching Wu’s study is based on rich materials, some previously unavailable, and is theoretically well-informed and sophisticated. It is a serious intervention not only in discussions of the CR and the Chinese revolution, but also in discussions of socialist politics.
Ted Huters
The Cultural Revolution at the Margins is a carefully researched and equally carefully thought-out account of the ideological struggles of the Cultural Revolution and its eventual suppression by a restored Party apparatus between 1966 and 1968. Using a sophisticated theoretical methodology, Wu makes a case for a compelling reinterpretation of the import of the familiar events of the CR. This book will eventually take its place as an important new analysis of the CR, and of how events of the time continue to resonate in Chinese political discourse.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674728790
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
06/16/2014
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
1,250,971
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Yiching Wu teaches East Asian studies, history, and anthropology at the University of Toronto.

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