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Between the mountains, the city, and the world: the microhistory of a 'Small Third Front' Chinese arsenal during revolution and reform

Yin, Qingfei ORCID: 0000-0003-0757-8377 (2023) Between the mountains, the city, and the world: the microhistory of a 'Small Third Front' Chinese arsenal during revolution and reform. Labor History. ISSN 0023-656X

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Identification Number: 10.1080/0023656X.2023.2277277

Abstract

This article presents a microhistory of Dongfang Arsenal, a Small Third Front project in Beijing, using archival sources, gazetteers, memoirs compiled by former workers, and oral history. It focuses on how the arsenal’s former workers engaged with socialist modernity and tangibly experienced the changing relationship between China and the outside world. It examines the military-industrial complex as a physical micro-space for employment, political mobilisation, and later a collective memory site. Built upon existing studies of the Third Front and emerging research on negotiated state power in socialist enterprises, the article demonstrates how the Third Front’s internally stratified industrial labour force creatively navigated the physical and institutional urban-rural divide by employing collective bargaining power. It also offers an insight into how an industrial, close-knit community and the society related to it experienced the Cultural Revolution. Additionally, it discusses the Front employees’ experience and the arsenal’s struggle for survival during the transition between various socio-economic regimes, bringing together the history of Maoist revolutionary modernisation and post-Maoist reform.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2023 12:54
Last Modified: 19 May 2024 07:06
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/120576

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