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

By Susan L. Glosser

On the sunrise of the 20 th century, China's sovereignty was once fragile at top. within the face of overseas strain and family upheaval, younger city radicals--desperate for reforms that may store their nation--clamored for swap, championing Western-inspired family members reform and selling loose marriage selection and monetary and emotional independence. yet what got here to be often called the hot tradition circulation had the unwitting influence of fostering totalitarianism. during this wide-reaching, engrossing ebook, Susan Glosser examines how the hyperlink among relations order and nationwide salvation affected state-building and explores its lasting effects. Glosser successfully argues that the alternative of the authoritarian, patriarchal, constitution with an egalitarian, conjugal family members used to be a fashion for the kingdom to maintain an important parts of its conventional tradition. Her finished study indicates that during the tip, family members reform lead the way for the chinese language Communist occasion to set up a deeply intrusive country that undermined the legitimacy of person rights.

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Extra info for Chinese Visions of Family and State, 1915-1953

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Prescribed norms tell us how particular groups would like to order their world and why. As Stephanie Coontz observes, “Both as an institution and as a conception, the family mediates between people’s definitions of themselves as individuals and as members of society. ”42 By its very nature, discourse often comments on a broader range of issues than those it explicitly addresses. 44 For example, the discourse of self-strengthening provided the rationale for the antifootbinding movement; a strong nation depended on the health of its people.

People of similar ages formed single-sex organizations around a common interest. Ties within these groups tended to be horizontal and egalitarian. In China as in the United States, peer organizations implicitly contradicted the logic of traditional social organization. In January 1920, one of these peer groups coalesced to offer an explicit challenge to traditional family organization. 5 Later that month, the group, which had grown by fifteen, established the Family Research Society (Jiating yanjiu she), with the intention of pro- Glosser, Chinese Visions 9/11/02 1:15 PM Page 29 Saving Self and Nation 29 viding a forum for discussing family reform and publishing a journal.

This welcoming of state intervention suggests an elaboration of Scott’s third point. He suggests that civil societies are brought to their knees by forces that are somehow exterior to the civil societies themselves: “War, revolution, and economic collapse often radically weaken civil society as well as make the populace more receptive to a new dispensation. ”65 My study of the family-reform debate shows that given certain desperate historical circumstances, societies may prostrate themselves to authoritarian states in hopes of saving the nation.

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