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Cover for Creating the Intellectual

Creating the Intellectual

Chinese Communism and the Rise of a Classification

Eddy U


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (10/9/2020)
Paperback (10/9/2020)


A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Visit to learn more.

This book is freely available in an open access edition thanks to TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem)—a collaboration of the Association of American Universities, the Association of University Presses, and the Association of Research Libraries—and the generous support of the University of California, Davis. Learn more at the TOME website, available at:

Creating the Intellectual redefines how we understand relations between intellectuals and the Chinese socialist revolution of the last century. Under the Chinese Communist Party, "the intellectual" was first and foremost a widening classification of individuals based on Marxist thought. The party turned revolutionaries and otherwise ordinary people into subjects identified as usable but untrustworthy intellectuals, an identification that profoundly affected patterns of domination, interaction, and rupture within the revolutionary enterprise. Drawing on a wide range of data, Eddy U takes the reader on a journey that examines political discourses, revolutionary strategies, rural activities, urban registrations, workplace arrangements, organized protests, and theater productions. He lays out in colorful detail the formation of new identities, forms of organization, and associations in Chinese society. The outcome is a compelling picture of the mutual constitution of the intellectual and the Chinese socialist revolution, the legacy of which still affects ways of seeing, thinking, acting, and feeling in what is now a globalized China.

Praise For Creating the Intellectual: Chinese Communism and the Rise of a Classification

"[A]n illuminating approach, which shifts the study of intellectuals from the study of a social group to the construction of the concept itself . . ."
— Modern Chinese Literature and Culture

"This well-researched and well-argued book makes a significant contribution to scholarship and will appeal to a wide audience in the China field, including graduate students of history, politics, sociology, and comparative communist studies."
— China Quarterly

"An informative and incisive study with theoretical significance and current relevance."
— American Journal of Sociology

University of California Press, 9780520303690, 247pp.

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

About the Author

Eddy U is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of Disorganizing China: Counter-Bureaucracy and the Decline of Socialism.