Dialogic struggle in the becoming of the cultural revolution : between elite conflict and mass mobilization
Critical Historical Studies
University of Chicago Press
This article addresses the becoming of contentious political events through the case of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966). The conditional theory of structural causation and the rational choice conception of agency that have complemented each other in current scholarship have left missing links between elite conflict and mass mobilization. Examining the dialogic struggle among various actors involved in the process helps to overcome the teleological explanation of the rise of the Cultural Revolution and brings to light the politics of interpretation in constructing its meaning. The perspective shows ideological contradictions in the status quo ante to be important sources for change in an uncertain and destabilizing situation. The event thus did not result from the realization of actors’ fixed goals but was an emergent process of the disarticulation of structural contradictions, in which actors’ active appropriation and changing deployment of cultural repertoires were critical.
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Xu, X. (2017). Dialogic struggle in the becoming of the cultural revolution: Between elite conflict and mass mobilization. Critical Historical Studies, 4(2), 209-242. doi: 10.1086/693922