Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History
Title: Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History
Author: SMITH, Stephen Anthony
Citation: Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-521-88637-6 (hardback); 978-0-521-71396-2 (paperback)
A unique comparative account of the roots of Communist revolution in Russia and China. Steve Smith examines the changing social identities of peasants who settled in St Petersburg from the 1880s to 1917 and in Shanghai from the 1900s to the 1940s. Russia and China, though very different societies, were both dynastic empires with backward agrarian economies that suddenly experienced the impact of capitalist modernity. This book argues that far more happened to these migrants than simply being transformed from peasants into workers. It explores the migrants’ identification with their native homes; how they acquired new understandings of themselves as individuals and new gender and national identities. It asks how these identity transformations fed into the wider political, social and cultural processes that culminated in the revolutionary crises in Russia and China, and how the Communist regimes that emerged viewed these transformations in the working classes they claimed to represent. • Takes a unique approach to the roots of Communist revolution by directly comparing Russia and China and combining social and cultural history • Based on primary research on Russian and Chinese memoirs, archives and newspapers • Will appeal to scholars and students of twentieth-century Russian and Chinese history, comparative politics, labour history and the history of communism. Contents Introduction: Capitalist modernity and Communist revolution; 1. Memories of home: native-place identity in the city; 2. The awakening self: individuality and class identity; 3. After patriarchy: gender identities in the city; 4. Saving the nation: national and class identities in the city; 5. Workers and Communist revolution.