The End of the Revolution: China and the Limits of Modernity

The End of the Revolution: China and the Limits of Modernity

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 1844673790

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Challenging both the bureaucratic one-party regime and the Western neoliberal paradigm, China’s leading critic shatters the myth of progress and reflects upon the inheritance of a revolutionary past. In this original and wide-ranging study, Wang Hui examines the roots of China’s social and political problems, and traces the reforms and struggles that have led to the current state of mass depoliticization.

Arguing that China’s revolutionary history and its current liberalization are part of the same discourse of modernity, Wang Hui calls for alternatives to both its capitalist trajectory and its authoritarian past.

From the May Fourth Movement to Tiananmen Square, The End of the Revolution offers a broad discussion of Chinese intellectual history and society, in the hope of forging a new path for China’s future.

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important essay, “How to Translate ‘Cultural Revolution’,” the Italian sociologist Alessandro Russo argues that these violent factional struggles created a crisis in the political culture that had developed in the early years of the Cultural Revolution, centered upon open debate and multiple forms 362g_The End of the Revolution.indd 5 18/11/2009 11:02:20 6 The End of the Revolution of organization.1 This crisis provided the opening for the reentry of the party-state. In this sense, the final

participation now identified as the only possible forms of mass political practice. Broadly speaking, this narrowing of political and imaginative horizons is the target of much of Wang Hui’s work, as seen in this collection of essays and interviews. Yet Wang’s is no nostalgia for revolution—far from it. Nevertheless, as the pieces collected here make clear, Wang insists on engaging with the failed potential of revolution as a democratic form that transcends and is more substantive than the market

am discussing here is the fact that people under different sets of social relations will have completely different appraisals of a particular system, so that it is not simply a question of whether the economy is connected with other systems or customs. The specific historical conditions of a particular society contain a specific sort of economic life, one which might not be identical to economic life under modern social conditions. A simple example are the studies of the Well-Field System,2 which

genealogy of this knowledge and institution, the actual relations of human beings have to be considered as furnishing the principle of classification.5 362g_The End of the Revolution.indd 151 18/11/2009 11:02:26 152 The End of the Revolution Culture debates and the classification of knowledge The autonomy of the humanities thus reaffirms the universality of the principle of division on which the scientific community is built. Discussions of the classification of knowledge—especially education

ideas with Yan Fu’s, the differences lie not in the presumption of universality or the heavenly principles, but in the way they connect human beings and their transcendental essence. Yan Fu thinks that the cognitive relation between human beings and things can be established by way of experiments, and arrives at ultimate truth by a set of cognitive programs. Liang Qichao, however, attempts to establish the concept of truth (conscience or heavenly principles) by practice (the unity of thought and

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