Download A Great Undertaking: Mechanization and Social Change in a by Jeff Hornibrook PDF

By Jeff Hornibrook

Jeff Hornibrook offers a distinct, microcosmic examine the method of industrialization in a single chinese language group on the flip of the 20 th century. Industrialization got here past due to China, yet used to be eventually embraced and hastened to assist the state's strategic and army pursuits. In Pingxiang County within the highlands of Jiangxi Province, coalmining used to be seasonal paintings; peasants rented mines from lineage leaders to paintings after the harvest. those traditions replaced in 1896 while the court docket determined that the county's mines have been crucial for industrialization. international engineers and chinese language officers arrived to set up the recent social and monetary order required for mechanized mining, one who might swap issues for individuals from all degrees of society. The outsiders built a Westernized manufacturing facility city that sat uneasily in the current neighborhood. Mistreatment of the neighborhood inhabitants, together with the compelled buy of gentry-held homes and the mixing of peasants into factory-style hard work schemes, sparked a sequence of rebellions that wounded the empire and tore on the cloth of the neighborhood. utilizing tales present in memoirs of elite chinese language and international engineers, correspondence among gentry and robust officers, travelogues of yankee missionaries and engineers, in addition to different assets, Hornibrook deals a desirable historical past of the social and political results of industrialization in Pingxiang County.

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Additional resources for A Great Undertaking: Mechanization and Social Change in a Late Imperial Chinese Coalmining Community

Sample text

In Pingxiang County, coalmining as well as rice farming and cash cropping provided in theory a chance to engage in transformative regional trade, though that opportunity never arrived. Larger markets located along the greater waterways outside the county might seem to a modern capitalist as an opportunity for economic advancement. However, trade in high-grade bituminous coal did not take off as a regional commodity. Indigenous development of coal sellers and buyers did not lead to new strategies for trade or transportation or to avenues of investment or mass marketing.

When the peasantry employed various acts of resistance to fight off elite exploitation, landlords pushed back through expanded tenancy relations and relied upon state militia to crush acts of rebellion. This, in turn, sparked further resistance from the laboring classes who joined secret societies and rebel bands that spread violence and graft throughout the countryside. As these two strata fought over the social order throughout much of the second half of the Qing era, by the late nineteenth century neither the elites nor nonelites had succeeded in transforming the nature of the relations of production.

Peasant men completed these tasks in many parts of the county, searching for the locations close to home that held sufficient sources of mineral that could assure them of success in their efforts. For the most part, the coalmines within the county limits predominated in three locations of the Luoxiao Mountains that formed the Jiangxi-Hunan provincial border. To the far north, small mines around Shangli merged into Liuyang County, Hunan. To the northeast, the mine fields referred to as Gaokeng stood near the border with Yichun County.

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