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The Rural ModernReconstructing the Self and State in Republican China$
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Kate Merkel-Hess

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226383279

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226383309.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 03 August 2021

A Movement Made and Lost

A Movement Made and Lost

(p.139) 5 A Movement Made and Lost
The Rural Modern

Kate Merkel-Hess

University of Chicago Press

Rural reformers conceived of themselves as part of a broad effort to remake rural China, and by the mid 1930s they had begun to put in place an institutional architecture to support national organization around rural reconstruction. Reformers worked to balance the growing excitement about rural reconstruction with their own control of its message and methods. Yet given the Nationalists’ close relationship to the ideas of national reconstruction, it wasn’t possible to keep the central government at arm’s length (and not all reformers wanted to). The new Rural Reconstruction Movement was folded into the swirl of Nationalist ideas about social reform and mass mobilization. This chapter explores this transformation as, under the influence of the Nationalist government and foreign funders and experts, rural reconstruction became less about the self-transformation of rural people and their communities and more about the cultivation of a cohort of rural cadres who could efficiently lead the masses toward modernization.

Keywords:   development, experts, education, Rockefeller Foundation

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