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Department Talk

Xiaohong Xu
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
10:00 AM-11:30 PM
4154 LSA Building Map
A fundamental question that has concerned social scientists since Barrington Moore is the political transformations that accompanied agrarian societies’ transitions to modern economy. One paradigmatic case is the peasant-based Communist revolution in China, the causes of which have been the subject of a long-standing debate. Scholars have emphasized peasant proletarianization, Communist leadership in peasant nationalism, the attraction of their socio- economic reforms, their effective mobilization, Nationalists’ failures, and geographical conditions. Based on county gazetteers and administrative records of 154 counties in the most heavily contested region during the crucial years, this study conducts the first multivariate longitudinal analysis of revolution on local-level data. The results show little support for existing narratives. Instead, they substantiate the “elite unsettlement” theory, which I develop from groundwork supplied by Alexis de Tocqueville and Fei Xiaotong. That is, the state’s effort to penetrate local communities undermined traditional checks and balances between the state and local elite, fractured local elite, and turned state agents into unbridled predators on peasants, thus creating favorable conditions for revolution. This study has implications for understanding the modernization of agrarian societies and the dynamics of social change, and casts new light on the long-term trajectory of the state-society relationship in China.
Building: LSA Building
Event Type: Presentation
Tags: Sociology
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department of Sociology