A Gramscian Approach to Chinese Labour and State

EHuiElaine Sio-ieng Hui’s new article at JCA is “Putting the Chinese State in its Place: A March from Passive Revolution to Hegemony” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2016.1197297).

Hui is with the Human Resources and Employment Relations Program at The Graduate School PennState.

Taking a Gramscian approach to state, ideology and labour, Hui suggests a revised approach to understanding the Chinese party-state. Her abstract is:

The Chinese party-state has been depicted in three major forms by the existing studies – the authoritarian state, developmental state and corporatist state. These depictions, however, only offer a partial understanding of the Chinese party-state and have failed to grasp its totality. Drawing upon the theoretical insights of Antonio Gramsci, this article contends that Chinese economic reform inaugurated in 1978 has been a top-down passive revolution and that, after three decades of reform, the role of the Chinese state has been changing from steering the country’s passive revolution to establishing capitalist hegemony. However, it should be noted that although the Chinese state has been undergoing a hegemonic transformation, capitalist hegemony has not been unambiguously established in the country. Some workers have given consent to the ruling class’s leadership, but a segment of workers has been able to transgress hegemony to formulate a radical critique of capitalists and the state. The transition to hegemony in China is a chaotic and tumultuous process of class struggles between the ruling class and the working class.

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