Abstract

This article is based on academic journals published in the People's Republic of China (PRC) from 1978 to early 1980 and analyzes the trend in post-Mao historiography regarding peasant rebellions. Previous belief in the revolutionary nature of peasant rebellions is being reversed, and their “anti-feudal” character being questioned. The question now is whether peasant rebellions, or even class struggle itself, constitute an important motive force for progress in Chinese history. Conflicting views persist, but overall a more negative view of peasant behavior has led many PRC writers to view the small producers' “patriarchy,” which fosters hierarchy and particularism, as a source of current bureaucratic problems.

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