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4 Technology, Markets, and Social Change: Print Capitalism in Early Twentieth-Century China

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Chapter Summary

For the owners of printing presses in early twentieth century China, the decision to adopt mechanized printing was made because it was profitable to produce a large quantity of products in a shorter time. This chapter discusses the regional and local networks that introduced mechanized print technology into China. By emphasizing regional and local factors, a unique system of Chinese print capitalism that combined what was globally available with what was domestically rooted. The chapter examines the impact of the national school system on the readership market, and focuses on the Journal of National Essence to illustrate how the school system gave some young scholars an opportunity to claim a leading role in national debates. It also briefs about how national crises, especially the perceived loss of Chinese territorial sovereignty, became a marketing ploy for journals.

Keywords: Chinese print capitalism; Journal of National Essence; local networks; regional networks; territorial sovereignty



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