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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.Read more
- The first comprehensive, historically informed look at reform-era Chinese debates on the role of the peasant
- Radical appraisal of the development of reform-era Chinese intellectual politics
- Demonstrates the centrality of the peasant to the contemporary Chinese perspective on Chinese history
Reviews & endorsements
"At a time when many scholars blithely announce the end of peasant China, Alexander F. Day makes a strong case for the enduring centrality of the peasant, both as a topic of debate and as a real-life problem that may yet come to disrupt the political consensus of postsocialist China … What impressed me most in this study is the fact that academics of diverse ideological commitments managed, through fierce disagreement and impassioned debate, to shape public opinion and ultimately alter government policy in ways that benefited the rural population. This fine study should be read by everybody interested in rural China and in the role that public intellectuals play in contemporary China."
The Journal of Asian Studies
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- Date Published: March 2015
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107544987
- length: 242 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 13 mm
- weight: 0.33kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Introduction: 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
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