From resistance to collective action in a shanghai socialist "model community" : From the Late 1940S to early 1970s

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

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationJournal of Social History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


This paper examines the changes in people's experience concerning the rise of the community-based collectivist spirit and inter-personal cohesion in about three decades of time. Based on the observations of Cucumber Lane, a migrant community-turned-socialist "model community" in Shanghai, the author emphasizes that the rise of community-based collectivism was mediated by, among other factors, a moral politics that involved traditional forms of morality. Since any collective action intensified the conflict between individual and group interests, the residents and local cadres/leaders tended to apply moral yardsticks originating from the traditional Chinese worldview to understand, evaluate, and argue whether particular state-led collective campaigns should be supported or resisted, and to what extent. The paper argues that the mediation of moral politics as perceived and constructed by the residents under specific ideological landscapes and systems for the distribution of resources shaped the ways in which they engaged in collective action and individual resistance.