By Mun Young Cho

ISBN-10: 0801451655

ISBN-13: 9780801451652

Despite sizeable alterations to its monetary rules, China keeps to outline itself as socialist; given that 1949 and into the current, the Maoist slogan "Serve the folks" has been a crucial aspect of ethical and political orientation. but numerous many years of market-based reforms have ended in excessive city unemployment, reworking the proletariat leading edge right into a new city negative. How do unemployed employees come to phrases with their break up prestige, economically marginalized yet nonetheless rhetorically imperative to the best way China claims to appreciate itself? How does a nation devoted to serving "the humans" deal with the poverty of its electorate? Mun younger Cho addresses those questions in a publication in accordance with greater than years of fieldwork in a decaying residential zone of Harbin within the northeast province of Heilongjiang.

Cho analyzes the various reports of poverty between laid-off city staff and up to date rural-to-urban migrants, teams that percentage a typical fiscal duress in China's Rustbelt towns yet who hardly ever unite as one category owed safeguard via the kingdom. Impoverished staff, she indicates, search safety and popularity via making claims approximately "the humans" and what they deserve. They redeploy the very language that the party-state had as soon as used to venerate them, even if their declare frequently contradicts executive directives relating to how “the humans” will be reborn as self-managing matters. The slogan “serve the folks” is not any longer a promise of the party-state yet quite a requirement made through the unemployed and the poor.

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Additional resources for The Specter of "the People": Urban Poverty in Northeast China

Sample text

Yet the processes through which the subjectivity of impoverished workers is being reshaped in post-Mao China are more contradictory and ambiguous than these scholars suggest. In the past, China was one of the socialist countries where the revolutionary consciousness of “the people” was greatly appreciated. China has since become the most thriving socialist country that has successfully survived under market-oriented transformations, serving as an engine of the world economy. The reformulation of subjectivity is thus temporarily informed by both the past and the present, or, more specifically, by the interrelation between the two.

Furthermore, in modern-day post-Mao China, “the people” as a class is overshadowed by “the people” as a nation. The rhetoric of the former celebrates urban workers as the masters of the country. Yet the rhetoric of the latter considers them to be shadowy subjects of a “reemerging” INTRODUCTION 9 China (see chapter 4). Workers are affected by this rhetoric because they are intensely attached to both the socialism of the past and the present market economy. How do impoverished workers grapple with the very ambiguity of their historical position while living in a “reemerging” China?

The historical rural-urban tension within “the people” looms large as these urbanites struggle to re-territorialize the increasingly blurred boundaries of urban and rural spaces in Hadong. ” Before detailing how the claim of belonging to “the people” is invoked, questioned, and pluralized in Hadong, I want first to explain the topography of northeast China (dongbei), one of the places to which those who live in Hadong have a profound emotional attachment. On a territorial scale, northeast China encompasses Harbin; Harbin encompasses Hadong; yet Hadong and northeast China are locations that the new “history” of Harbin no longer encompasses.

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The Specter of "the People": Urban Poverty in Northeast China by Mun Young Cho


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