Professor Karl Gerth (Hwei-Chih and Julia Hsiu Endowed Chair in Chinese Studies, History, UCSD)
"Compromising with Consumer Desire: Chinese Market Culture from Mao to Now"
March 23, 2015
What happened to Chinese consumer culture after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949? Consumerism and communism would seem antithetical. And Chinese consumerism changed dramatically. Yet even as foreign consumer goods largely disappeared and industry was nationalized, Chinese leaders remained ambivalent about consumer culture. Consumerism of the pre-communist era was rarely completely vilified, and in China and throughout the socialist world, earlier forms of consumerism persisted, often despite explicit government attempts to end or limit them and, surprisingly, sometimes with government support. Exploring the persistence of consumerism thus helps reveal hidden dimensions of Chinese life during the socialist era.
For more information: eap.einaudi.cornell.edu/ccci-spring-2015