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The Making of the Chinese Intellectual: Theory, Findings, and Hypotheses

A talk by EDDY U (UC Davis)

Monday, March 02, 2009
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Research on intellectuals under Communist party rule generally defines its subject as critical thinkers or mental workers. I explore the intellectual (zhishifenzi) as what Pierre Bourdieu called a “practical classification” mobilized by agents with different motives and tactics. Before taking power, the Communist Party defined the intellectual through various technical and political criteria; party ideology and organization inscribed upon a section of the revolutionary personnel the primary social identification of the intellectual, a stigma that led individuals to redefine their relations to the classification. After the 1949 revolution, official governance extended the objectification of the intellectual to every level of state and society. Personal backgrounds and workplace factors shaped the locations individuals occupied vis-à-vis the local classification of intellectuals. The locations of the individuals, in turn, influenced how they dealt with the classification as they negotiated their careers and livelihoods.

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Eddy U (PhD in Sociology, UC Berkeley, 2001) is an assistant professor of Sociology at UC Davis. From 2002 to 2004, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Oriental Institute of the University of Oxford, and then from 2004 to 2007 taught at the University of Sydney in August 2004. His research focuses on twentieth-century China, specifically, organization and representation. His works are based on the theoretical ideas of Max Weber, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu. Empirically, they are based on historical documents and interviews. Professor U is the author of, among others, Disorganizing China: Counter-bureaucracy and the Decline of Socialism (Stanford University Press, 2007).

310 825-8683

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies

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