Download Chinese Visions of Family and State, 1915-1953 by Susan L. Glosser PDF

By Susan L. Glosser

On the sunrise of the 20th century, China's sovereignty used to be fragile at most sensible. within the face of foreign strain and family upheaval, younger city radicals--desperate for reforms that might store their nation--clamored for switch, championing Western-inspired relations reform and selling unfastened marriage selection and monetary and emotional independence. yet what got here to be referred to as the hot tradition circulation had the unwitting influence of fostering totalitarianism. during this wide-reaching, engrossing publication, Susan Glosser examines how the hyperlink among kin order and nationwide salvation affected state-building and explores its lasting outcomes. Glosser successfully argues that the alternative of the authoritarian, patriarchal, nuclear family constitution with an egalitarian, conjugal kinfolk used to be a fashion for the country to maintain an important components of its conventional tradition. Her accomplished study exhibits that during the top, kin reform cleared the path for the chinese language Communist social gathering to set up a deeply intrusive kingdom that undermined the legitimacy of person rights.

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76 The four groups that dominated the family-reform debate—New Culture intellectuals, the Nationalist government during the Nanjing decade (1927–1937), Shanghai entrepreneurs in the 1930s, and the Communist regime after it came to power in 1949—fully understood that in the process of articulating their versions of the xiao jiating, they were also promoting a particular vision of the Chinese state. The following chapters discuss in turn each participant’s version of the xiao jiating. The chapters are ranged in roughly chronological order in order to concentrate on each group at the time when it dominated the debate and articulated its vision most clearly.

At the same time, in the political environment of the Republican era, certain choices made more sense than others. Each of the following chapters includes some examples—letters to the editor, survey responses, a love letter, court cases—that suggest how the xiao jiating ideal may have been put into practice. The primary focus of this study, however, is how this ideal articulated and shaped statesociety relations and ultimately facilitated state dominance of society and hobbled the potential for popular challenges to state authority.

Examination of the family-reform debate of the Republican period casts CCP “conservativism” in a very different light. I contend that the CCP did not maintain traditional family and gender hierarchies out of deference to peasant sensibilities. On the contrary, the Party developed its construction of family and gender roles, as well as its vision of statesociety relations, during the years it was based in China’s cities. The Party’s willingness to subordinate women’s rights to the needs of the state was, in fact, the product of a family-reform discourse that began with the urban New Culture Movement.

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