Revolutionary Nativism: Fascism and Culture in China, 1925-1937
Fixing the Everyday: The New Life Movement and Taylorized Modernity
Chapter 4 examines the New Life Movement launched in 1934, focusing on the ways in which it sought to fix everyday life in a twofold sense. First, it examines how fascists touted rationalized Confucian precepts to foster the national unity that they believed necessary for industrial productivity and military preparedness. It traces the patriarchal, antidemocratic implications of the New Life Movement’s social perspective, which was that of officers and managers who wanted people to act like soldiers in a national army or cogs in a giant social machine. This chapter further investigates how the movement sought to fix everyday life in a second sense by invoking Confucian values to slot people into legible social roles and eliminate the omnipresent possibility of resistance, inscribing feudalistic social hierarchies into the heart of a modernizing society. The movement thereby sought to create subjects who would receive state propaganda in intended ways.