Rural revitalization, scholars, and the dynamics of the collective future in China

Hairong Yan, Hok Bun Ku, Siyuan Xu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Rural development in the Chinese state's strategy has been a changing political-economic problematic. The state has practiced a strategic essentialism with regard to ‘peasantry.' It has actively taken ‘peasantry' as a temporary unifying master-category while at the same time working with the differences within the category for the long-term goal of transformation. The post-Mao contradiction, emphasizing the protection of the ‘peasantry’ while encouraging differentiation, offers contemporary struggles both opportunity and frustration. This essay examines how the rural has been conceptualized in reform-era policies and discusses two cases of scholar activism, the rural reconstruction movement and the food sovereignty network in China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-874
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • China
  • Peasantry
  • food sovereignty
  • rural reconstruction
  • strategic essentialism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this