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Women, the Family, and Peasant Revolution in China

Kay Ann Johnson provides much-needed information about women and gender equality under Communist leadership. She contends that, although the Chinese Communist Party has always ostensibly favored women’s rights and family reform, it has rarely pushed for such reforms. In reality, its policies often have reinforced the traditional role of women to further the Party’s predominant economic and military aims.

Johnson’s primary focus is on reforms of marriage and family because traditional marriage, family, and kinship practices have had the greatest influence in defining and shaping women’s place in Chinese society. Conversant with current theory in political science, anthropology, and Marxist and feminist analysis, Johnson writes with clarity and discernment free of dogma. Her discussions of family reform ultimately provide insights into the Chinese government’s concern with decreasing the national birth rate, which has become a top priority. Johnson’s predictions of a coming crisis in population control are borne out by the recent increase in female infanticide and the government abortion campaign.

292 pages | 6.00 x 9 | © 1983

Asian Studies: East Asia

History: Asian History

Political Science: Comparative Politics

Table of Contents

1. The Prerevolutionary Setting
1. Women and the Traditional Chinese Family
2. The Twentieth-Century Family Crisis
3. Women and the Family in the Chinese Revolution, 1921-49
4. The Kiangsi Soviet Period, 1929-34
5. The Yenan Experience and the Final Civil War, 1936-49
6. Legacies of the Revolutionary Era
3. Family Reform in the People’s Republic, 1950-53
7. The Politics of Family Reform
8. Land Reform and Women’s Rights
9. The 1950 Marriage Law: Popular Resistance and Organizational Neglect
10. The 1953 Marriage Law Campaign
4. Women, the Family and the Chinese Road to Socialism, 1955-80
11. Collectivization and the Mobilization of Female Labor
12. The Cultural Revolution
13. The Anti-Confucian Campaign
14. Current Rural Practice
15. Conclusion: Family Reform—the Uncompleted Task
Appendix: The 1950 Marriage Law

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