The legacies of Maoist rule made reflecting on power almost unavoidable for U.S. anthropologists who conducted research in the People's Republic of China (PRC) just after Mao's death. In this article, I examine the theorization of power in the works of five such anthropologists. Although their approaches are diverse, they share an historical awareness of the unexpected dynamics and paradoxical outcomes of Mao's attempts to enact a revolutionary transformation of the social organization of power in the PRC. I conclude this article by enumerating lessons from these authors' analyses for the anthropological study of power in general.
|Publication status||Published - 2003|