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  • The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of a Registration Drive

    Eddy U

    Chapter from the book: U, E. 2019. Creating the Intellectual: Chinese Communism and the Rise of a Classification.


    This chapter illustrates the spread of the intellectual as a classification of people in Shanghai during the early 1950s, and the concurrent extension of the symbolic power and administrative capacity of the state. It focuses on an official drive to register “unemployed intellectuals,” an event that involved the establishment of local offices and numerous resident assistance teams, the mobilization of hundreds of professional and other associations, the use of official procedures, and wide-ranging placement efforts. The registration became an exercise through which officials and residents alike learned how to use the Marxian classification of the state in everyday life. The chapter shows that patterns of recruitment, dismissal, and job loss pushed former government personnel and military officers and others with dubious records to register as unemployed intellectuals. As a result, official surveillance intensified as these and other unemployed intellectuals returned to work.

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    How to cite this chapter
    U, E. 2019. The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of a Registration Drive. In: U, E, Creating the Intellectual. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.68.d

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on April 30, 2019