Intellectuals at a Crossroads

The Changing Politics of China's Knowledge Workers

By Zhidong Hao

Subjects: Asian Studies
Series: SUNY series, INTERRUPTIONS: Border Testimony(ies) and Critical Discourse/s
Paperback : 9780791455807, 526 pages, August 2003
Hardcover : 9780791455791, 526 pages, August 2003

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Table of contents

List of Tables and Figures

List of Abbreviations

Foreword by Merle Goldman



1. Introduction: Toward a Political Sociology of China's Intellectuals


Four Types of Intellectuals and Four Political Roles
The Ideological Foundations of Intellectuals' Political Roles
Ethical Dilemmas Facing Intellectuals
The Chinese Intellectual: A Typology


2. From Uniformity to Fragmentation: Intellectuals in the Mao Era (1949–1976) and in the First Deng Period (1977–1989)


A High Degree of Uniformity with Limited Resistance: The Mao Era (1949–1976)
The Beginnings of Fragmentation: First Period of the Deng Era (1977–1989)


3. Critical Intellectuals


The Social Environment after 1989
The Critical Intellectual Discourses
The Democracy Movement
Other Social Critics: Some Examples
Conclusions: the Politics of Critical Intellectuals


4. Bourgeoisified and Professionalized Intellectuals


The Bourgeoisification of Intellectuals
The Professionalization of Intellectuals


5. Social Class and Organic Intellectuals


Class and Class Structure in Formation
Organic Intellectuals
Conclusions: Contradictory Class Locations of Organic Intellectuals


6. Intellectuals as a Class


Are Intellectuals a Class?
Chinese Intellectuals as a Class
The Elitist Flaw of the Intellectual Class


7. Summary and Conclusion: The Future of China's Intellectuals


The Changing Politics of China's Knowledge Workers
The Future of China's Intellectuals


Appendix: A Note on the Concept of the Intellectual


Transition from Literati to Intellectuals: The Chinese Story
Transition from Philosophers to Intellectuals: The Western Story
Definitions of the Modern Intellectual




Index of Chinese Names and Phrases

Subject and Name Index

A survey of contemporary Chinese intellectuals.


Zhidong Hao's fascinating book, Intellectuals at a Crossroads, examines groups of contemporary Chinese intellectuals, their successes, failures, identity contradictions, and ethical dilemmas. Three categories of intellectuals are studied: organic intellectuals who serve specific interests, from government and business to working class movements; critical intellectuals who defy authority with continued social criticism; and "unattached" intellectuals who are fast being professionalized. Using a historical-comparative approach enhanced with demographic and rare interview data, the book bridges the traditional with the modern and the Chinese with the foreign by exploring how these intellectuals are adapting to their roles and influencing political, economic, and social change in the "new" China.

Zhidong Hao is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Whittier College.