Marxism and the politics of positioning China in world history
Abstract This paper critically traces Marxist and certain other relevant traditions of knowledge about China’s evolving position in the capitalist modern world, seeking to place current struggles over the country’s future direction in the post-communist epochal parameters. Ultimately, given the Marxian perspective of world history in terms of capitalist genesis, expansion and revolutionary transformations (of pre-capitalism as well ascapitalism itself), to position China in its historical and international contexts is to clarify its relationship with the global capitalist system. It is politics, rather than any economic logic or cultural destiny, which (de)legitimizes and explains that relationship and makes possible an alternative Chinese path of potential universality.
Keywords: China, the orient, world history, capitalism, Marxism
Lin Chun teaches at the London School of Economics. She is the author of The British New Left (1993), The Transformation of Chinese Socialism (2006), and Reflections on China’s Reform Trajectory (2008, in Chinese); the editor of China I, II and III (2000) and co-editor of Is Mao Really a Monster? (2009), Women: The Longest Revolution (in Chinese, 1997) among other books. Her articles and chapters appeared in several languages. She was an associate editor of Political Studies and is a series coeditor of Palgrave’s China in Transformation. Her new book Reorienting Socialism is forthcoming.