Children of the Cultural Revolution: Family Life and Political Behavior in Mao's China

By Xiaowei Zang | Go to book overview

9
CLASS, CASTE AND POLITICAL
BEHAVIOR IN CHINA

In the previous chapters I have studied four groups of children, focusing on the differences in their family lives, the principles that guided their participation in the Cultural Revolution, their manners of expression, and their concerns during those turbulent years. Each group operated under its own unique situation and relied on different adaptation strategies during the Cultural Revolution. The life experience of each group was different from all other three. The differences were the result of the class system and the caste hierarchy in Mao's China. Class and caste interacted with each other and influenced family life and political behavior of Chinese adolescents of different socioeconomic status.


Class and Caste in Pre-1966 China

The political status system was certainly an important dimension of social stratification in Mao's China. However, as Richard Kraus points out, "the bad classers" (the lower caste lower class people) have been invariably referred to as a stereotype of the lower caste people in Mao's China. 1 Class differentiation within the lower caste and its impact on behavior patterns have not been carefully examined.

Additionally, stratification within the upper caste (the "good class") has been understood mainly in terms of occupational groups (i.e., workers, cadres). There has not emerged a strong interest in the link between political behavior and class differentiation within these occupational groups, at least not at the empirical level.

I write this book to narrow the gap between reality and our conception of social stratification in the Mao era. I have shown that the lower caste lower class was only part of the lower caste. There was also a middle class within the lower caste. Families of lower caste middle class were different from their lower class counterparts in income, prestige, values and political orientations.

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Children of the Cultural Revolution: Family Life and Political Behavior in Mao's China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 10
  • 2 - The Political Status System 13
  • Notes 20
  • 3 - Job Ranking and Social Classes 23
  • Notes 38
  • 4 - Class and Caste 41
  • Notes 47
  • 5 - Family Life and Political Behavior in Pre-1966 China 49
  • Notes 61
  • 6 - The Upper Caste Middle Class 63
  • Notes 80
  • 7 - The Upper Caste Lower Class 82
  • Notes 90
  • 8 - The Lower Caste 91
  • Notes 102
  • 9 - Class, Caste and Political Behavior in China 103
  • Notes 110
  • Appendix Notes on Methodology 112
  • Notes 118
  • Bibliography 119
  • Index 129
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