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Coping with Crisis in the Wake of the Cultural Revolution: Rehistoricising Chinese Postsocialism

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AbstractOver three decades after China ventured onto the market path, the Chinese state’s reform programme, which was intended to invigorate socialism, has instead led the country down a capitalist path. This paper situates China’s post-Mao transition in the context of the crisis of the party-state during the Cultural Revolution. Using Gramsci’s idea of ‘passive revolution’, it examines the state’s tactics of crisis management aiming to contain and neutralise emergent opposition and pressure from below. As the combined result of state repression, ideological appropriation and socioeconomic incorporation, a new reform paradigm emerged to rearticulate popular demands and initiatives to an official socialism centring on economic modernisation and market liberalisation.

Affiliations: 1: Department of East Asian Studies, University of


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