Catastrophe and Contention in Rural China: Mao’s Great Leap - download pdf or read online

By Ralph A. Thaxton Jr

This ebook files how China's rural humans take into account the good famine of Maoist rule, which proved to be the worst famine in glossy global historical past. Ralph A. Thaxton, Jr., sheds new gentle on how China's socialist rulers drove rural dwellers to starvation and hunger, on how powerless villagers shaped resistance to the corruption and coercion of collectivization, and on how their hidden and contentious acts, either person and concerted, allowed them to outlive and break out the predatory grip of leaders and networks within the thrall of Mao's authoritarian plan for a full-throttle consciousness of communism - a plan that engendered an extraordinary catastrophe for rural households. in response to his examine of a rural village's stories of the famine, Thaxton argues that those thoughts persevered lengthy after the occasions of the famine and formed rural resistance to the socialist country, either prior to and after the post-Mao period of reform.

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Extra resources for Catastrophe and Contention in Rural China: Mao’s Great Leap Forward Famine and the Origins of Righteous Resistance in Da Fo Village

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64–68. Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, 52–59, 65–71, 82–83. Here I built on methods pioneered in a previous work. See Thaxton, Salt of the Earth, xvii. 50 Our strategy was to invite villagers, with and without ties to state power, to freely talk about how they received and responded to state-introduced changes that spanned many decades and different regimes, and our questions did not prejudge these regimes or their local agents. Third, we interviewed about one in every five individuals repeatedly (two, three, and more times), sometimes asking the same questions in different ways on returning to the village so that I could check the early recall of the respondent against his or her later voiced memories.

In contrast, many of Da Fo’s ordinary, nonparty farmers were less inclined to organize their personal narratives by the principles of this local party network. They focused more on day-to-day and year-to-year efforts to preserve the entitlements of their households, and when they spoke of a collapsed past, they sometimes implicated the local party leaders, as well as the train of other violent intruders, in this collapse. For many party leaders, post-1949 Chinese history held the promise of a new beginning, and they perceived the difficult times of the Mao years as correctable and behind them.

Communist Party censors continue to screen and suppress much of what makes its way into print, and this, too, limits the availability of primary source materials about the Great Leap famine. Through oral history, however, Chinese villagers speak to us from minds stockpiled with memories of their actions, thoughts, and feelings, most of which were previously voiced, if at all, within the framework of local oral tradition. The bias against relying on rural dwellers to help us create historical representations of state and revolution in twentieth-century China is strong among Chinese intellectuals, many of whom disdain popular memory and seldom question whether the official Communist Party–crafted history of revolution and reform is in accordance with the habitual memory of rural people.

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