The (Un-)Making of the Shanghai Socialist ‘Model Community’ : From the Monolithic to Heterogeneous Appropriation(s) of the Past

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

7 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-405
Journal / PublicationJournal of Asian and African Studies
Issue number5
Online published1 Oct 2004
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


This article examines the historical trajectory of Cucumber Lane, which was transformed from a slum ghetto into a socialist 'model community' in the mid-1960s in Shanghai. The author argues that in the course of this transformation the state attempted to homogenize the past of the residents, which echoed the rise of yiku sitian, a popular thought-education strategy adopted during the Maoist period (1949-76). This article analyzes under what circumstances that yiku sitian became an effective means to promote the legitimacy of the state, and what role(s) Cucumber Lane played in being turned into a revolutionary holy land in the 1960s. The article also explores how the 'revolutionariness' of its residents was actively 'created'. The author suggests that in the reform era, different and even contradictory appropriations of the past began to emerge among the residents, who were born and came of age during the Maoist period.

Research Area(s)

  • Community, Ideology, Shanghai, Socialist model, Thought education, Use of the past