The Politics of Authority

Lisa Rofel

in Other Modernities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780520210783
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520919860 | DOI:
The Politics of Authority

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This chapter traces the contours of “politics of authority,” arguing that despite their wholehearted rejection of Maoism, workers whose class status and gender identity were initially formed during the Cultural Revolution even now reiterate certain fundamental elements of those politics through the way they perform at work. Their actions both call forth and challenge disciplinary measures by the state. The politics of authority, moreover, reflect a distinctive interpretation of power that distinguishes these workers as a cohort from either older women workers, who felt liberated by Liberation, or younger women, who entered the factory in the 1980s. These politics informed a specifically Maoist vision for reaching modernity that differed markedly from both the project of the early 1950s and the post-Mao imaginary.

Keywords: politicization; Cultural Revolution; activists; post-Mao; China

Chapter.  8202 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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