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Download A Great Undertaking: Mechanization and Social Change in a by Jeff Hornibrook PDF

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By Jeff Hornibrook

Jeff Hornibrook offers a distinct, microcosmic examine the method of industrialization in a single chinese language neighborhood on the flip of the 20th century. Industrialization got here past due to China, yet used to be finally embraced and hastened to help the state's strategic and armed forces pursuits. In Pingxiang County within the highlands of Jiangxi Province, coalmining used to be seasonal paintings; peasants rented mines from lineage leaders to paintings after the harvest. those traditions replaced in 1896 while the courtroom made up our minds that the county's mines have been crucial for industrialization. international engineers and chinese language officers arrived to set up the hot social and financial order required for mechanized mining, one who could switch issues for individuals from all degrees of society. The outsiders built a Westernized manufacturing unit city that sat uneasily in the current group. Mistreatment of the neighborhood inhabitants, together with the pressured buy of gentry-held homes and the mixing of peasants into factory-style exertions schemes, sparked a chain of rebellions that wounded the empire and tore on the textile of the group. utilizing tales present in memoirs of elite chinese language and international engineers, correspondence among gentry and robust officers, travelogues of yankee missionaries and engineers, in addition to different resources, Hornibrook bargains a desirable background of the social and political results of industrialization in Pingxiang County.

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Sample text

They used the power of land and labor as well as the lineage institutions to manage local affairs. 18 This relationship between the elite members and their nonelite counterparts was a contentious one. When goodwill was not sufficient to extract surplus from nonelite members, lineage leaders used brutal force to maintain their leadership and the status quo. However, beyond naked power, to increase and legitimize their authority local landed elites educated their sons for the civil service exams and thus established themselves as official members of the gentry class.

A sense of a bond between the natural environment and the human-made community developed that each individual and each individual family counted on for survival throughout their lifetimes. 31 Even still, the deposits of high-grade bituminous coal were by far the most significant and abundant source of family-required resources and dependable byemployment in the county. 36 By the height of the Qing dynastic era in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Pingxiang County peasants developed and employed strategies to utilize the coal for personal needs and to incorporate 20 A Great Undertaking coalmining into their labor portfolios.

More importantly, however, Pomeranz’s depiction of Chinese mines being exceptionally dry is quite odd and counter to the findings of most scholars who have studied mining in China. 54 It is true that both ventilation and water seepage were serious problems for miners. It is also true that water seepage was especially troublesome and dangerous and was handled by local miners in manners that suited their needs and the tools and capital available to them. That is, Chinese miners did not invent the water pump because they did not perceive a need for one.

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