Women, the Family and Peasant Revolution in China by Kay Ann Johnson

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has championed itself as the great equalizer amongst man and woman alike. But while it ostensibly favored women’s rights and family reform, it has rarely pushed for such reforms and, in reality, its policies have often reinforced the traditional role of women to further the CCP’s political, economic, and military aims.

I have the feeling that Johnson’s book started out as a collection of essays as she rehashes common phrases as well as terms and research established by others every time she uses them. Margery Wolf established what the natal family meant for Chinese women; I do not need this repeated to me every time she uses the term. This repetition left me frustrated and drew the book out longer than necessary.

There is a heavily reliance upon novels and short stories, many of which I have read for my class this semester, written during this time period to explain how women felt about the actions of the CCP. Unfortunately, this book is also not ethnography so the personal stories needed to garnish sympathy and understanding was missing.

Book Mentioned:

  • Johnson, Kay Ann. Women, the Family and Peasant Revolution in China. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. Print. 282 pgs. ISBN: 0226401898. Source: PaperBackSwap.
Book Cover © University of Chicago Press. Retrieved: November 14, 2011.