Eating Rice from Bamboo Roots

  • From: East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal Volume 6, Number 4, 2013 pp. 569-571 | In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: While the conventional study of modern Chinese history places a big signpost at the divide of 1949, when the Nationalist regime fled to Taiwan and the Communist regime took over the mainland, Jacob Eyferth sets his papermaking story during the latter eight decades of the twentieth century, leading into contemporary China with barely a pause at midcentury. This sort of chronological breakthrough sheds new light on the transition from the traditional division of labor to the maximizing of profits and production of the Maoist years. Despite all the efforts of socialist ideology, the country’s rural-urban gap widened and intensified throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Chinese state capitalists, as Eyferth shows us, were more Chinese than Marxian, determined to increase national production so as to surpass the United Kingdom and the United States within a decade of liberation. As to the historical actors in Jiajiang, Sichuan, where this study is set, Eyferth presents them as a diverse group—or group of groups—whose lives embody the development of one kind of papermaking; he assesses their skills by considering a broad field of relations. Such an approach broadens our view of the sociotechnical network beyond Bruno Latour’s actor network theory (ANT) and confirms that interdisciplinary science and technology studies elicit remarkable insights from historical materials." - Jacqueline Nivard
Tags: china, culture immatérielle by: Jacqueline Nivard