- Series: Contemporary Issues in Asia and the Pacific
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (March 10, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0804760780
- ISBN-13: 978-0804760782
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,078,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Rise of the Red Engineers: The Cultural Revolution and the Origins of China's New Class (Contemporary Issues in Asia and the Pacific) 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
Frequently bought together
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
"Rise of the Red Engineers is a welcome contrast to scholarship on contemporary China that dismisses the Mao years as crazy or as irrelevant to the reform period. Andreas takes the ideology and policies of the Mao era seriously and judges the results of Mao's programs by their own stated goals . . . Andreas' signal achievement is in using complex human stories to construct a compelling and tightly packaged argument that pushes us to think about the world in new ways. He succeeds because his goal is to explain what happened and why, rather than to give the entire Mao era a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Everyone interested in contemporary China and modern Chinese history should read this book." (China Journal)
"This is an important study of the Maoist effort to shape China's new generations of political and technocratic elites and the consequences. Joel Andreas focuses on China's premier technology university as the keystone of this effort, explains why the university erupted in violence during the Cultural Revolution, and analyzes the shifts in status today of the political, technocratic, and moneyed elites. This is one of the very best books about China that I have read in recent years." (Jonathan Unger, Director, Contemporary China Center Australian National University)
"Andreas provides a sweeping sociological history of Tsinghua University, told through the lens of class formation and the politics of social mobility. He chronicles Tsinghua's role as a crucible of elite formation from the early imposition of Communist rule on an elite university, through the struggles of the Cultural Revolution and the post-Mao restoration, up through the recent resurgence of high-tech capitalism in the university's Science Park. This book is absorbing reading for those interested in the tortuous course of the Chinese revolution." (Andrew G. Walder, the Denise O'Leary and Kent Thiry Professor of Sociology Stanford University)
"Joel Andreas has written a very fine analysis of the emergence of China's current ruling group." (Thomas P. Bernstein Political Science Quarterly)
"This study of the recruitment and training of a technocratic elite in China reads like a chronicle of the rise and fall of revolutionary communism. Andreas brings back into analysis structural questions of power largely ignored in recent studies of Chinese politics, and shows how the Cultural Revolution ironically played a formative part in the coming together of old and new elites." (Arif Dirlik, Professor of Chinese Studies Chinese University of Hong Kong)
"Joel Andreas's Rise of the Red Engineers is ambitious in scope and analyzes the "transformations of China's class structure since the 1949 Revolution" with rigor and style. . . . Andreas's work brings fresh perspective to our understanding of class in China, of the machinations of the Cultural Revolution, and of twentieth-century experiments in Communism in comparative perspective" (Denise Y. Ho China Review International)
"This is an essential book for specialists seeking to understand the murky issues of class in the People's Republic of China (PRC) since 1949; it is also highly engaging and accessible to non-specialists." (Sigrid Schmalzer American Historical Review)
"Rise of the Red Engineers provides an exciting sociological analysis of Maoist and post-Maoist China . . . The book would work well for graduate courses in political sociology, comparative and historical sociology, and socialism and postsocialism." (Johanna Bockman American Journal of Sociology)
"Andreas offers not only one of the best books about politics in post-1949 China, but also one of the greatest contributions to the study of the new class in general . . . This theoretically informed, empirically rich study will reach far beyond its particular subject, and should appeal to all readers interested in social stratification, intellectuals, socialist and postsocialist societies, and comparative-historical sociology." (CHOICE)
"In providing this thought provoking analysis [Andreas] has not only made a contribution to our understanding of China in the second half of the twentieth century but also helps us to think about why the Chinese Communist project, inaugurated with such idealism in 1949, went wrong and therefore what future idealists might need to think about as they embark on their own revolutions." (Peter Wood Hong Kong Economic Journal)
About the Author
Joel Andreas is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. His work has appeared in various publications, including the American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, and The China Journal.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Probably the most important motivation for the Chinese state since the Revolution has been economic growth: the People's Republic has epitomized the developmental state both as a militantly socialistic regime, and as an ostentatiously ultra-capitalist one (1). Some may be perplexed by this, since the early Communist period was accompanied by a crescendo of political turmoil, climaxing in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR). But since the very beginning of major 20th century revolutions, the industrial system has been an all-consuming obsession, and with good reason: the leaders of the regime have always been in a race against time to pull out of the commodity dependency trap before public support for industrialization flags. In Bolshevik Russia, the great schism between the Trotskyists and Stalin arose from the battle over developmentalism; the ideology, and eventually, the purges, would be driven by the need to prolong Lenin's "mandate" to electrify the whole country (2). In China, the developmentalist agenda was a settled question by 1949, and just over a year later the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was engaged in a shooting war with the capitalist world. Keeping these items in mind is crucial to taking Chinese history seriously: most of the alternatives to what they would do were, in the event, illusions--never really available in the first place.
Naturally, a key salient in the battle over developmental strategy was education policy. In 1949, 24 million children were enrolled in primary school, and 1.2 million in secondary school; there were 117,000 college students in the entire country (3). Unsurprisingly, nearly all college students were from wealthy families, meaning that the entire educational system had evolved to not only accept a mono-culture of landlord offspring (with professors catering to same), but to favor that culture and regard even moderately leveling policies as wasteful and stupid. When the CCP came to power, they were obligated to retain both the experts and much of the student body, since intellectual capital was scarce. But they placed the experts--managerial, technical and intellectual--under the control of "Reds," or cadres with political credentials. Initially, there were clashes between the totally alien cultures, but gradually a modus vivendi evolved. The Red elite had children who joined the old comprador and landlord elite children at the universities; the obviously overwhelming power of the CCP in China ensured that the children of "bad" classes would accommodate their classmates from Red families, whatever their feelings might have been.
Andreas's study focuses on the experience of Tsinghua University, one of China's two top learning institutions (the other one is Beijing University). In 1952, only 14% of the student body was of working class origins (after 30 months of CCP rule). By 1964, this proportion had risen to 44%, opening up a vast rift between students and professors (4). As the Cultural Revolution broke out in the universities of China, factions of students formed, often arming themselves for gang warfare and necessitating the arrival of "work groups" (delegations of workers and peasant cadres with moral authority to arbitrate between the dueling factions). During this period, several anomalies developed.
The first was that the Reds were the main target of attack in the GPCR; for Mao and his inner inner circle, the object was to purge the party of revisionists, or--more cynically--moral rivals to himself. Hence, party cadres were astonished to find themselves on the receiving end of vitriolic attacks by the ultra radicals. The second anomaly arose from the first: the most radical students were not the ones with the exemplary "Red" pedigree, but those who were outsiders by virtue of their "bad" class. The radical Red Guards usually paid a high price, compelled as they were to denounce parents for political crimes. Another point was that the Reds and the experts living through the mass hysteria of the late 1960s were eventually made into allies by constant attacks from political outsiders. Both were constantly attacked as "capitalist roaders," "revisionists," or worse. This naturally made the two groups regard the other more sympathetically.
But it was the educational process that merged the two groups into a new technocratic class. "As children of the educated elite gained political credentials and children of the political elite gained academic credentials, the number of people who occupied the intersection of the two groups--the Red experts--grew steadily" (Andreas, p. 273). Under the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, urban enterprise was privatized at an astonishing rate (82% urban employment in the public sector, 1991, vs. 27% in 2005; Andreas, p.250), while the benefits employers provided for employees have collapsed. The rapid mechanization and commercialization of agriculture has created gigantic cohorts of rural unemployed, with a terrifying downward drag on the market value of labor. This has resulted in social stratification that rivals conditions in the USA. Meanwhile, the children of the political elite have married into, or become themselves, members of the entrepreneurial elite (and vice versa), resulting in a connubial union of the two supposed archenemies in class revolution--vanguards of the working class and their lawfully wedded spouses, the owning class.
(1) "Developmentalist" refers to a governing approach that subordinates all other considerations to that of industrial development. This is sometimes confusing to observers focused on GDP growth, because agricultural inputs are frequently diverted, and the initial effect is typically a sharp decline in capital productivity (GDP growth will lag as capital stock is shifted to new sector, in which expertise is greatly inferior and markets are not developed).
To see this effect in China, I recommend Angus Maddison, _Chinese Economic Performance in the Long Run_, OECD Development Centre Studies_2nd Ed., revised and updated (2007), pp.68-70, tables 3.9 & 3.10 (this work is available for free online as a PDF file). The tables distinguish between the periods 1952-1978 and 1978-2003. During the first period, China's capital productivity declined, while the capital stock grew (this reflects a desperate effort to redirect capital into industrial development, to avoid becoming stuck in a commodity export trap). The effect of declining capital productivity almost, but not quite, offset the increasing volume of capital equipment.
Three points: one is, one can see a similar effect in Japan during the same two time periods, and the other is that China's capital productivity growth remains low (albeit, not negative). Three is, over the two periods, Chinese industrial & construction sector grew at the same annualized rate, 9.76%. Of course, after 1978, this was a massively bigger part of the overall Chinese economy.
(2) Lenin famously said, "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country" (speech, "Our Foreign and Domestic Position and Party Tasks", 21 Nov 1920), available online. The context is important: the Bolsheviks had recently adopted the New Economic Policy (NEP), which was a major setback for both Soviet power and the electrification of anywhere. After 1928, the NEP ended abruptly with Stalin's conquest of power.
(3) Angus Maddison (2007), p.66, table 3.7. The table appears to indicate that the GMD regime had practically doubled enrollment just prior to their defeat in the Civil War, but notice the prior baseline is 1939-1940. At that time, at least half of the Chinese population lived in areas under Japanese occupation or contested territory. In 1949, the population of China was 541 million.
(4) As late as 1970, only 1.5% of professors at Tsinghua were from "good classes" (Andreas-2011, table 3.2, p.67), compared to 15% of assistant teachers. Fully 60% were from "exploiting classes," compared to 29.1% of assistant teachers. Terminology is from the Chinese authorities at Tsinghua, not Andreas. Table 3.3, p.69, charts the rise of "good class" students from 1952 to 1964. Further breakdown and analysis of the student body class composition is distributed through the chapter "Cradle of Red Engineers."
Andreas' careful examination of events at Tshinghua University, one of the key universities in China that, ultimately, fashioned some of China's top leaders today, shows that the events of the Cultural Revolution can be analyzed in sensible ways that illuminate what happened and, importantly, why things are as they are today.
Andreas employees a template that readers unfamiliar with the Chinese Revolution of 1949, the Great Leap, the CR, and the aftermath, will find helpful while experts will find the current misleading, well-funded, scholarship decrying the CR as "simply crazy hysteria" debunked in sophisticated, well-referenced ways. Activist readers will be handed problems that the should consider, problems the Chinese faced and they will too, that is, what of intellectual elites within the movement, what of the children of former ruling classes, what of class consciousness itself? My only complaint is about something beyond Andreas' control--our somewhat new habit of using endnotes rather than bottom-of-the-page footnotes. As one who reads footnotes with care, I can only hope other scholars can upend this unfortunate nod to the impatient or careless.