China and Postsocialist Anthropology applies lessons learned from socialist governance, especially in China, to the realm of social theory. Socialist governance explicitly draws on various aspects of Marxist theory and thus directly illuminates issues as varied as theorizing power, imagining the relationship between continuity and discontinuity in historical process, utilizing the category of “the political” when writing about culture and society, and conceptualizing categories like class, the state, the market, and citizenship. Many of the most destructive episodes of socialist governance can be linked to two major themes in Maoism and Marxism: a holistic conception of society; and a positive valuation of politicization (in the forms of conflict, struggle, and political oppositionality). Both themes play an important role in the practical exercise of socialist governance and, in the process, generate a number of related sub-themes, or socialist logics. These two overarching themes come together in the practice and concept of socialist revolution—an armed struggle that transforms society from one holistic form (capitalism) to another (socialism). China and Postsocialist Anthropology explores and develops forms of theorizing about society and politics which avoid the over-politicization, holistic language, metaphors, assumptions, and logics so prevalent in socialist governance.
About the Author
Andrew Kipnis is a Senior Fellow in the Contemporary China Centre and the Department of Anthropology, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, the Australian National University. He is author of Producing Guanxi: Sentiment, Self, and Subculture in a North China Village and co-editor of The China Journal.
China and Postsocialist Anthropology is a sophisticated and insightful analysis of post-socialist regimes, seen through the prism of the Chinese case. Andrew Kipnis is a highly conceptual anthropologist, very well versed in social-science theory, who also has an in-depth, on-the-ground knowledge of China. Bilingual in Chinese and English, in this important book, he employs his dual expertise to present cogent analyses of post-socialist power relations, post-Marxian social theory, neo-liberalism and neo-leftists in China, the reshaping of citizenship, and a range of other related topics. The book will be of considerable value to comparative social scientists, his fellow anthropologists, specialists in socialist and post-socialist regimes and societies, and social theorists.
—Jonathan Unger, Author, The Transformation of Rural China and Editor, The China Journal, 1987-2005
China’s rise to world power status has changed the shape of the world. The U.S.-China bilateral relationship is arguably already the most important one for both countries and it embraces issues of global and regional security, economic prosperity, and the environment, among many others. If Americans tend to ignore history, Chinese do not. The five […]
Edited By Joshua A. Fogel
The roots of modern Sino-Japanese relations lie in the intense cultural and political exchanges which blossomed in the mid-1850s extending into the late 1920s. Scholarly interest has grown over the last two decades in the interaction between China and Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While much of that interest has centered […]
Four Hundred Million Customers (1937) is a collection of humorous essays and piquant anecdotes underpinned by well-informed insight and highlighted by witty drawings by G. Sapojnikoff. Like a bowl of salted peanuts, these vignettes make you want “more.” The book was welcomed on its publication as the most entertaining and instructive introduction to the rapidly modernizing people […]
Edited By Samuel C. Chu
When Soong Meiling, better known to the world as Madame Chiang Kai-shek, died in October 2003, her life of over a century almost exactly paralleled America’s own century of direct involvement with Asia, which began with the acquisition of the Philippines. Alone among Western Powers, the United States championed an Open Door policy toward China. […]
This landmark study by a leading Chinese scholar of international relations significantly advances our understanding of the origins of Chinese Communist foreign policy. Basing himself on a wealth of previously inaccessible Chinese archival sources, memoirs, and official documents, Professor Niu charts the evolution of CCP foreign policy in the period preceding the revolutionary victory in […]
The Oriole’s Song is a love story — love of family, of entwined cultures, of life itself — during and after the turmoil of war. This beautiful recollection of an American girlhood in China during World War II is a continual delight with large insights and small moments made exqusite by delicate prose. On May […]