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By investigating how a 1943 legal dispute over an arranged marriage in a Chinese village became a legal and political exemplar as well as a series of cultural products presented on the national stage, this book examines the social and cultural significance of Chinese revolutionary legal practice in the construction of marriage and gender relations.
The book seeks a conceptual breakthrough in revisiting the Chinese revolution and its impact on women and society by presenting a Chinese experience that cannot and should not be theorized in the framework of Western discourse. The book takes a cultural historical perspective on how the Chinese revolution and its legal practices produced new discourses, neologisms and cultural symbols that contained China's experience in twentieth-century social movements. It shows how revolutionary practice was sublimated into the concept, 'zizhu' or 'self-determination', an idea that bridged local experiences of revolution and the influence of the world.