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The Handbook of Political Economy of Communications by Janet Wasko, Graham Murdock, Helena Sousa

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26

The Challenge of China

Contribution to a Transcultural Political Economy of Communication for the Twenty-First Century

Yuezhi Zhao

Assuming as I do that Mao Zedong correctly predicted the zigs and zags of China’s struggles toward socialism, it seems obvious that the fuel is being accumulated which will power a later phase of class struggle taking off from where the Cultural Revolution ended.

Dallas Smythe 1981, 247

I’m not putting bets on any particular outcome in China, but we must have an open mind in terms of seeing where it is going.

Giovanni Arrighi 2009, 84

If the political economy of communication as an academic field counts the “blind spot” debate, initiated by Dallas Smythe, as one of the defining moments in its development, political economy of communication as a praxis witnessed a historical encounter of an entirely different nature and magnitude, also initiated by Dallas Smythe, in an article entitled “After Bicycles, What?,” which was not published during his lifetime, but nevertheless “attained a legendary status” among his peers (Guback 1994, 227). While the “blind spot” debate pitted North American political economists against their British counterparts within western Marxism, this other encounter engaged Smythe with the ideas and political practices of the Chinese Communist Party (CPP) within the international communist movement.

Smythe went to China to study ideology and technology between December 1971 and January 1972 on the eve of China’s reinsertion into the global ...

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