Schoolhouse Politicians: Locality and State During the Chinese Republic, Količina 454

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University of Hawaii Press, 1992 - 300 strani
Scholarly study of the Chinese republic (1911-1949) has traditionally viewed the period through its shortcomings - notably its failure to establish a secure political order - thus allowing the chaos and violence of national power politics to overshadow formative developments taking place at the local level. By focusing on the interaction of local politics and the central state, Helen Chauncey argues for the importance of local initiative in defining the post-imperial state and suggests a rethinking of our understanding of republican-period politics.
Through the prism of educational circles in central Jiangsu province, Schoolhouse Politicians challenges assumptions about local elite conservatism by showing how actively politics were pursued in local municipalities well removed from traditional centers of wealth and power. It highlights the activism of political entrepreneurs in the arena of local schooling and interprets the apparent disorderly conduct of local republican politics in terms of the strategies activists used to test their right to public association with the central state and to determine what concerns could be addressed through such an association. Pursuing a comprehensive approach to the study of local politics, this interpretation is sensitive to political intent in a variety of cultural representations, from school journals to teachers' assemblies to the physical management of public space such as schoolhouses and exercise yards.
Schoolhouse Politicians makes a compelling case for the central importance of its immediate subject - the growth of the elementary and secondary educational establishment - as well as illuminating larger questions of state-building. This carefully crafted local history, based on pioneering research, is of significance to the field of modern Chinese history. It is also a valuable addition to the recent comparative literature on state-making that seeks, by exploring a variety of occupations and social groups neglected by traditional histories, to give due importance to those little-studied experiences that helped shape the potential and limits of the modern state.

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