Peasant Life in Communist China

Peasant Life in Communist China

Peasant Life in Communist China

Peasant Life in Communist China

Excerpt

In 1939 there was published in English a book called Peasant Life in China by Fei Hsiao-tung. It was the modified form of a thesis presented to the University of London for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and it incorporated the results of a field study of a Chinese village carried out by the author in 1936. In an introduction to the book Professor B. Malinowski hailed it as a probable landmark in the development of anthropological fieldwork and theory. He quoted the opinion of Sir E. Denison Ross who, after reading the book in manuscript, said

I know of no other work which describes at first hand and with intimate understanding the full story of life in a Chinese village community.

The book has in fact had a strong influence upon a progression of scholars. It not only served as one of the early models for a socioeconomic community study but it also showed the value of such studies, previously largely confined to primitive societies, when applied to civilised groups. The value lay in the illumination which it gave to students of the Chinese scene. By providing an intimate study of village life in a densely populated region of eastern China it helped Western readers better to understand the broad facts of Chinese life in terms of the human beings who formed the society. Especially if the book is read in conjunction with The Golden Wing by Lin Yueh-hwa, a semi-fictional account of village life which . . .

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