The Chinese Communist Party took power in 1949 and launched a series of campaigns targeting the economic, cultural, and political capital to ensure class equality, and in the decades that followed the revolution, the Chinese workers acquired an “industrial citizenship,” which meant that they would work with employment security and that they would be legitimate stakeholders in the factories.
Since the middle of the 1990s, there has been a transition from a system of permanent staffing to a one based largely on flexible and precarious work, and China’s industrial citizenship has undergone a radical change.
Joel Andreas chronicles the rise and fall of the longest-running industrial citizenship experience in the world. In his quest to understand the reasons for the failure of this communist project, he focused his research on the hierarchical structures in the workplace, which mainly where the population is managed, and he based his research on interviews with individuals who worked in factories at the time. With documents and testimonies, he reveals what this means from the point of view of the Chinese Communist Party, how it resonates among workers, in what direction it has developed during the Maoist period, and in what ways the structural reform of the 1990s was implemented despite the intense opposition from workers.
Disenfranchised is a must read for those who are interested in the history, the heritage and the future of the socialist experiments that China embarked on in the twentieth century. This is also the first book of the “Asian Studies” series that we are publishing in cooperation with KUASIA (Koç University Center for Asian Studies), which has been operating since 2017. The “Asian Studies” series will present quality Turkish translations of classic works of the field and important current studies, as well as the original works in Turkish and English.
Joel Andreas holds a Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA. He has been teaching at Johns Hopkins University since 2003. His main research interests are political strife, social inequality, and the social change that China is experiencing today.
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