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.
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.