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Title: Restructuring society : public health and social change in rural China, 1949-1976
Author: Huang, Jia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2731 4392
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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The goal of this study is to present a micro-level investigation into the development of rural public health in the political and social milieu of Maoist China, with evidence from two counties, Lingchuan and Lingui, in Guangxi Province in South China. It aims to understand how the extension of public health to the rural people helped shape their political and social existence in the modern era. During the first half of the twentieth century, the development of public health in China, which concentrated mostly in the urban towns, was inextricably integrated with the process of building a modern Chinese nation-state. In the realm of public health, the state managed to define its relationship with individual citizens through disseminating a universal system of scientific knowledge, directing disciplinary action, and imposing regulations. The connection between public health and government structure has inspired this study to trace the regulatory, administrative, and institutional role of state in public health activities, e.g., launching anti-epidemic campaign, giving vaccinations, and disseminating new ideas and methods in the countryside. Equally, this study is also concerned with the distinctiveness of the rural society, whose historical legacy had significantly shaped the modern development. During the mid-1950s to 70s, the state had exerted active efforts to legitimize traditional medicine. Consequently, mass mobilization at the local level was energized by adoption of traditional measures, for example, as in the programs of barefoot doctors and mass medication with herbal medicine. By observing the playing out of these practices in the local context, this study suggests that traditional medicine helped to sustain the involvement of local leadership and ethics in the new activities promoted by the state; and by extension, the interaction between the state and local communities in developing public health activities reflected the process of building local government, in which the power of the state and that of the communities were interacting and mutually reinforcing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available