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"Red Revolution, Green Revolution"Scientific Farming in Socialist China$
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Sigrid Schmalzer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226330150

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226330297.001.0001

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Seeing Like a State Agent

Seeing Like a State Agent

(p.129) 5 Seeing Like a State Agent
"Red Revolution, Green Revolution"

Sigrid Schmalzer

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the roles of local cadres and technicians in China's green revolution. These local "state agents" sat at the hinge of the contradiction between green and red revolutions—between technocracy and class struggle, between top-down and bottom-up approaches to change. Not infrequently, the tasks they were assigned simply could not work: they did not suit the local environmental conditions, or they clashed with deeply held local customs and values. To succeed, state agents had to pay close attention to cultivating personal relationships and building good will among diverse players. And they often had to be skilful in negotiating between the needs of state and rural society, sometimes to the extent of actively but covertly resisting state mandates. Their efforts in managing poor policies from above and resistance from below help illuminate just what the "scientific experiment movement" was actually testing. Contrary to what foreign observers suggested, this was "experiment" and not just "demonstration." The question of whether new technologies would work in a given place involved not just biology, chemistry, and physics, but also social, political, cultural, and economic relationships.

Keywords:   China, agriculture, science, technology, state agents, rural society, negotiation, resistance, scientific experiment movement, demonstration

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