A Chinese Village in Early Communist Transition

A Chinese Village in Early Communist Transition

A Chinese Village in Early Communist Transition

A Chinese Village in Early Communist Transition

Excerpt

In China today some 80 per cent, or 500,000,000 of the country's 600,000,000 people, still make their living from agriculture, and most of these teeming millions of tillers of the soil are grouped into some 1,000,000 peasant villages. A compact group of houses hugging some winding streets, a population from a few scores to several thousand, and a broad enveloping belt of open fields -- these are the physical components of the peasant village, in which flows a life of simplicity, hardship, and stability, but in which also brew forces that have toppled dynasties when miseries in agrarian life became humanly unbearable and uncontrollably widespread. It is now well recognized that it was the strength of such forces that carried the Communist revolution to its initial victory. What goes on within these seemingly simple peasant communities is likely to remain a vital factor affecting the social transformation of this ancient land.

It is the purpose of this volume to try to understand the problems of one of the innumerable Chinese peasant villages by analyzing its pre-Communist pattern of life and studying the changes that the Communist revolution has wrought. The emphasis here is on an analytical presentation of the major aspects of village life and recent changes in them, not on the formulation of a body of abstract principles governing the structure and functions of the present village.

In this study the village community is conceived of as an aggregate of peasant population nucleated in a compact settlement and integrated into functional groups by a system of institutions. Our focus is on the system of institutions and the related configuration of social groups in the village, particular emphasis being placed on the functional interdependence between different aspects of life which gives rise to the complex interrelationship among the institutions. Such interrelationship is seen in the overlapping membership of such social groups as the peasant farm organization, the family, and the local power groups. Through this network of institutional interdependence the individuals and groups operate together as a consistent system and the village community develops a functional unity.

While the functional unity of the institutions and the social groups makes the village a distinct entity, it does not isolate the village from social and cultural ties with the regional and national community.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.