Erasure and Renewal in (Post)Socialist China: My Mother’s Long Journey



Through autoethnographic accounts, this chapter explores Mother’s long journey in China’s Cultural Revolution and present-day market reform to examine the fraught relations between the party-state and its youth, between education and political socialization, between public values and authoritarian limits that continue to tug the social fabric of today’s China. I argue that the state works as a powerful pedagogical node shaping people’s sense of self, social change, and their own place in the midst of it. Nevertheless, life is a performative space of self-making, where one receives whatever comes and gropes to make better meanings out of it. Mother’s narratives highlight the state’s shifting modalities of power and illustrate that post-socialist conditions are mediated by the continual assertion of political authority alongside people’s creative agency.



With affection and gratitude to Mother, whose love and spirit are not contained within these pages. Acknowledgment is also due to Professor Howard Wolf (Department of English, State University of New York at Buffalo) for his perspicacious comments that inspired this paper’s title.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Leadership and PolicyThe State University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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