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Rise of the Red Engineers: The Cultural Revolution and the Origins of China's New Class (Contemporary Issues in Asia and Pacific)by Joel Andreas
Synopses & Reviews
Rise of the Red Engineers explains the tumultuous origins of the class of technocratic officials who rule China today. In a fascinating account, author Joel Andreas chronicles how two mutually hostile groups—the poorly educated peasant revolutionaries who seized power in 1949 and China's old educated elite—coalesced to form a new dominant class. After dispossessing the country's propertied classes, Mao and the Communist Party took radical measures to eliminate class distinctions based on education, aggravating antagonisms between the new political and old cultural elites. Ultimately, however, Mao's attacks on both groups during the Cultural Revolution spurred inter-elite unity, paving the way—after his death—for the consolidation of a new class that combined their political and cultural resources. This story is told through a case study of Tsinghua University, which—as China's premier school of technology—was at the epicenter of these conflicts and became the party's preferred training ground for technocrats, including many of China's current leaders.
Book News Annotation:
Andreas (sociology, Johns Hopkins U.) describes how engineers during the 1950s anticipated transforming China into an advanced socialist industrial nation, how they were set back by efforts of the 1968-76 Cultural Revolution to prevent new class divisions, and how since then they have gradually replaced first-generation revolutionaries and are responsible for much the of transformation of the government into a technocracy. In particular, he looks at political and cultural foundations of class power, the cradle of red engineers in universities, political versus class power, uniting to defend political and cultural power, supervising the red engineers, eliminating the distinction between mental and manual labor, work-peasant-soldier students, rebuilding the foundations of political and cultural power, the triumph of the red engineers, and technocracy and capitalism. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Rise of the Red Engineers explains the tumultuous origins of the class of technocratic officials who rule China today.
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.
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