Classes without Class Consciousness and Class Consciousness without Classes: The meaning of class in the People's Republic of China

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Journal Article
Journal of Contemporary China, 2012, 21 (77), pp. 723 - 739
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The meaning of class, like many other things, is conferred by historically specific chains of signification or discourses that constitute the identity and significance of class as a social reality. Therefore, much of the conceptual purchase and explanatory power of class will be lost when the concept is taken out of the theories in which it is embedded. This is exactly the case with the use of class in the People's Republic of China in the last two or three decades, when the Marxist approach to class has been rejected and 'forgotten' by the social analysts and the Chinese Communist Party-even though the latter continues to pay lip service to Marxism-in favour of alternative concepts, methodologies and theories that sidestep class relations. The point of departure here is not so much sociological as political-ideological. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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