Publié le 27 mai 2024 Mis à jour le 27 mai 2024

Ce colloque international est organisé par l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, l'université de Berkeley, le labex Transformations de l'Etat, politisation des sociétés, institution du social (Tepsis) et le GIS Asie.


du 11 juin 2024 au 12 juin 2024

de 10h à 18h
Type(s) d'évènements

Agenda_Political Lives in Socialist China
Agenda_Political Lives in Socialist China
Only two years after the publication on his 1966 study Ideology and Organization in Communist China, Franz Schurmann felt the need to qualify his state-centered approach: “[t]he forces of Chinese society are equally important as those coming from the structure of state power… due weight must now be given to the resurgence of the forces of Chinese society.” The context for this revelation was of course the Cultural Revolution, which ushered in a first wave of scholarship that centered on social life in the People’s 2 Republic of China rather than institutions, elites, and policies. A second wave of interest began with the opening of local archives, which allowed historians to explore new facets of society, including but not limited to material culture, experiences and emotions, official and unofficial culture, work and leisure, and the day-to-day operations of law and bureaucracy at the grassroots. Nobody can claim that scholars today do not give due weight to society.

For Schurmann’s generation, to study Mao’s China was to study a revolution comparable to the epochal events that transformed France and Russia. In recent years, however, scholars have found the revolutionary paradigm less helpful in making sense of a complex society characterized by surprising continuities and significant variations from city to city, village to village, not to mention across the urban-rural divide. We recognize the need to move away from old questions of politics and ideology. We celebrate the nuanced and sophisticated understanding of Chinese society that has come about through this shift in focus. But we propose that the time has come to bring the revolution back in, so as to give due weight to the political dimension of life in socialist China.

Organizers : Isabelle Thireau (CNRS/EHESS, CCJ-CECMC) and Puck Engman (Center for Chinese Studies at UC Berkeley).