The law cuts both ways: rural legal activism and citizenship struggels in neosocialist China

Susanne Brandtstädter gir i denne artikkelen et innblikk i drivkrefter blant kinesiske "bønder"som arbeider for å  oppnå like sivile muligheter og rettigheter i det kineskiske samfunnet.

This paper will draw on fieldwork in rural China and other sources to explore the interrelations between 'governing culture' and the question of 'participation and equal rights' as they reveal themselves in struggles over 'the rule of law' in contemporary China. As around the globe, the opening up to the global market and the construction of a modern legal system led in China to a new identity politics and a foregrounding of cultural citizenship as an arena of governance and a political struggle for rights. My interest is here the interrelation between a 'civilizing' project of the neosocialist state to create law-abiding, formally equal citizens, and a new, self-propelled law activism among Chinese 'peasants' who seek to appropriate the law not just to defend themselves against the infringements of local governments on their 'civil rights' or even 'human rights', but to recreate themselves as peasants, citizens and political subjects, as new subjects for rights. I will argue that such citizenship struggles can be explored only with reference to the historical formation of governance in a given place; in this case with reference to Maoism, its political split between peasants and urbanites, and a particular formulation of citizenship that I call 'transcendental'. 

Tags: Contemporary China, Maoism, Citizenship, Pesants, Urbanity
Published Aug. 4, 2011 1:08 PM - Last modified May 27, 2015 3:00 PM