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【MC】36(6),2010
2010-11-01

Modern China

November 2010; 36 (6) : pp559 – 675

Manufacturing Loyalty: The Political Mobilization of Labor in Taiwan, 1950—1986

Ming-sho Ho

National Taiwan University, Taipei City, Taiwan

Abstract:Authoritarianism expects workers to play the dual role of diligent producers and loyal citizens simultaneously. In extreme cases, workers must demonstrate political commitment in their everyday life. This article analyzes Taiwanese sugar refinery workers to understand the dynamics of political mobilization under the Nationalists. In the name of anti-communism, a series of control mechanisms were installed in nationalized workplaces. Workers were coerced to participate in numerous political rituals. Beneath superficial conformity, workers adopted a rich variety of everyday techniques of resistance to cope with their dependence. The author characterizes workers’ behaviors in terms of ritualism, innovation, and retreatism. These acts of resistance brought about an undisciplined workplace with widespread work avoidance and moonlighting. Over the long haul, the infrastructure of political mobilization remained intact despite the fact that its content became more and more meaningless. Finally, only with the fundamental change in the political environment brought about by democratization did this labor control strategy finally collapse

 

 

 

Recovering Childhood: Play, Pedagogy, and the Rise of Psychological Knowledge in Contemporary Urban China

Orna Naftali

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Abstract:In the past few decades, China has witnessed the emergence of a psychological discourse of childhood.This new discourse portrays children as persons with unique emotional needs and seeks to redefine childhood as a time of play and relaxation rather than study or toil. Drawing on the results of ethnographic fieldwork in Shanghai’s schools and homes in 2004—2005, the present article describes the complex ways Shanghai’s teachers and parents engage with this normalizing, developmental discourse. It argues that the rise of a psychological discourse of childhood signals a shift in Chinese modes of governing school and family life, and in current conceptualizations of the child-as-citizen and the child-as-subject in postsocialist, urban China.

 

 

 

Creating a Public Face for Posterity: The Making of Chiang Kai-shek’s Shilüe Manuscripts

Grace C. Huang

St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY, USA

Abstract:In the midst of war, secretaries began selecting and organizing excerpts from Chiang Kai-shek’s diary, telegrams, written reports, and speeches to form the shilüe gaoben , which might be roughly translated as “draft” or “working manuscripts.” Yet because of the Guomindang’s later exodus to Taiwan, these manuscripts remained incomplete and in different stages of draft form. As such, they open an intriguing window into the process of establishing a Chinese leader’s political legitimacy in the eyes of posterity. In comparing the shilüe to its nearest equivalent, the dynastic Standard Histories, this article finds that its content reflected the change from the relationship between emperor and subject to that between national leader and citizen. In addition, by clarifying the methodology informing the shilüe as a political/historical document, this article finds that the secretaries’ varying goals for, and abilities to put together, the shilüe influenced how posterity would view Chiang’s legacy.

 

 

 

“Attacking Queshan”: Popular Culture and the Creation of a Revolutionary Folklore in Southern Henan

John Williams

The Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, USA

Abstract:This article examines rural mobilization and propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Henan via the case of an uprising during the Northern Expedition, as well as official and popular representation of that event before and after 1949. It confirms recent scholarship regarding the role of local interpersonal networks in early rural mobilization, which in this context required infiltration of local, religio-magical popular militias called Red Spear societies. It then examines popular and party-constructed representations of the revolt, illustrating both the function of early CCP propaganda within rural popular culture and its implications for official historiography, which practiced specific forms of erasure in representing popular collective memory. It uses party documents, memoirs, and local histories to show that the historical significance of the Queshan uprising resides less in the failed revolt itself than in the ways its legacy was appropriated by cadres and historians during the twentieth century.

 

 

 

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