Negotiating Subalternity in a Former Socialist ‘Model Community’ in Shanghai : From ‘Model Proletarians’ to ‘Society People’

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-179
Journal / PublicationAsia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


In the 1940s, Cucumber Lane was one of the largest shanty towns in Shanghai. After the communist takeover in 1949, its development took place in parallel with the major state-led projects that were launched in subsequent years. The community was turned from an urban slum into a socialist ‘model community’ in the 1960s, then into a ‘civilised small community’ in the 1990s. This paper aims to explore in general the process of negotiating identity on the part of the residents at these two historical junctures, and in particular the conditions under which one particular discourse of identity seemed to result in the hegemony of the residents, whereas the other invoked complicated sentiments filled with apathy and dissent, grumbles and hopes. © 2005 The Australian National University.

Research Area(s)

  • China, Community, Discourse, Identity, Shanghai, Socialist Model, Subalternity