Like Cattle and Horses: Nationalism and Labor in Shanghai, 1895-1927 - Comparative and International Working-Class History (Paperback)S. A. Smith (author)
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While the massive wave of labor protest in the 1920s was principally an expression of militant nationalism rather than of class consciousness, Smith argues, elements of a precarious class identity were in turn forged by the very discourse of nationalism. By linking work-related demands to the defense of the nation, anti-imperialist nationalism legitimized participation in strikes and sensitized workers to the fact that they were worthy of better treatment as Chinese citizens. Smith shows how the workers' refusal to be treated "like cattle and horses" (a phrase frequently used by workers to describe their condition) came from a new but powerfully felt sense of dignity. In short, nationalism enabled workers to interpret the anger they felt at their unjust treatment in the workplace in political terms and to create a link between their position as workers and their position as members of an oppressed nation. By focusing on the role of the working class, Like Cattle and Horses is one of very few studies that examines nationalism "from below," acknowledging the powerful agency of nonelite forces in promoting national identity.
Like Cattle and Horses will interest historians of labor, modern China, and nationalism, as well as those engaged in the study of revolutions and revolt.
Publisher: Duke University Press
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 640 g
Dimensions: 235 x 152 x 28 mm
"Specialists and general readers alike will delight in the stories that Smith tells. This perceptive and original book abounds in good ideas and gems of scholarship and draws on a formidable range of theories. Few historians of China could match this range of expertise."-Gregor Benton, University of Wales, Cardiff