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Uneven ModernityLiterature, Film, and Intellectual Discourse in Postsocialist China$
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Haomin Gong

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835316

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835316.001.0001

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Uneven Modernity in Postsocialist China

Uneven Modernity in Postsocialist China

A Critical Inquiry

(p.11) Chapter 1 Uneven Modernity in Postsocialist China
Uneven Modernity

Haomin Gong

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines uneven modernity in postsocialist China using a critical framework of a dialectical understanding of unevenness that looks at different theoretical schools. In retrospect, the history of the postsocialist China is characterized by policies of unevenness. Behind all these policies there lies the consistent idea of uneven development. This chapter considers how dialectical thinking embedded in different critical schools usually points to a metaphysical paradox in capitalism and modernity: the tension between constant pursuit of an infinite fullness and the break of fullness (or unevenness) as the means of this pursuit. In the Chinese context, this paradox is fashioned in the uneven developmentalism that characterizes the postsocialist period. The chapter discusses the ways in which unevenness has become a structural factor of society in postsocialist China and reconceptualizes social and cultural scenes in the country, using the concept of uneven modernity not only as a critique of inequality but also as a way of thinking that may go beyond oversimplified ethical judgments.

Keywords:   uneven modernity, unevenness, postsocialist China, uneven development, capitalism, modernity, uneven developmentalism, inequality

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