Work of the Fellows: Monographs

Di Wang, The Teahouse Under Socialism: The Decline and Renewal of Public Life in Chengdu, 1950-2000

Wang, Di (Fellow, 2006-07)

Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2022

From the publisher's description:

Wang looks at the transformation of these teahouses from private businesses to collective ownership and how state policy and the proprietors’ response to it changed the overall economic and social structure of the city. He uses this transformation to illuminate broader trends in China’s urban public life from 1950 through the end of the Cultural Revolution and into the post-Mao reform era. In doing so, The Teahouse under Socialism charts the fluctuations in fortune of this ancient cultural institution and analyzes how it survived, and even thrived, under bleak conditions. Throughout, Wang asks such questions as: Why and how did state power intervene in the operation of small businesses? How was "socialist entertainment" established in a local society? How did the well-known waves of political contestation and struggle in China change Chengdu’s teahouses and public life? In the end, Wang argues, the answers to such questions enhance our understanding of public life and political culture in the Communist state.


Subjects: History;; Socialism; Teahouses; Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution; Cultural History; Chinese History