Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The politics of factional conflict and collective violence : the Cultural Revolution in Guangzhou, 1966-1968
Author: Yan, Fei
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines the nature of mass factionalism and rebellious alignment during the Chinese Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1968. This period in Chinese history presents an internecine mass conflict that boasts the largest political upheavals of the 20th century. The most puzzling question of the explosion of this intense rebellious rivalry lies in the mechanisms and processes of insurgents’ political choices: Why did people join and affiliate with different insurgent groups? What decision did people make and what were their reasons? In conventional social structural analyses of contentious politics, mass actors’ decisions are affected by functionally differentiated interests inherent in their pre-existing social positions. This model defines mass rebellion and factional alignment as a form of interest group politics, attributing political choices to participants’ pre-existing sociopolitical status quo and thus pits different social groups against one another. As a result, similar occupational and status groups in the previous hierarchical structure would make similar political choices that lead them to form well-defined competing factions. In contrast to this static structural interpretation, I propose a contextual process model to analyze processes of political division and factional contention within political movements. With a case study of Guangzhou, I argue that rebellious alignment was rooted in their political interactions in a rapidly evolving phase of the conflict, rather than rising from the tensions that existed between different socio-economic layers of society. During the times of radical instability such as the Chinese Cultural Revolution, political ambiguity and contingency were the defining characteristics. In such unstable political environment, the basic elements of the movement changed so many times: each phase of the rebel movement projected itself by means of different actors, agendas, targets, and so on. Consequently, individual rebels observed their embedded local political environment, interpreted it, and subsequently chose a course of action in a dynamic process. In this regard, mass actors from identical social strata in the previous hierarchical structure would make different political choices and tactically choose their factional camp.
Supervisor: Biggs, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Rational choice and signalling theory ; Social cleavages ; Social status ; Political ideologies ; Islamic art ; China ; Cultural Revolution ; Red Guard ; political movement ; factional politics