Sociology in China

Sociology emerged in China in the 1920’s, but was officially banned from classroom instruction and scholarly research shortly after the 1949 Communist revolution. Influenced by Vladimir Lenin’s characterization of Auguste Comte’s sociology as bourgeois, Mao Zedong’s new government terminated all sociological programs in 1952. Sociologists became targets of political torture during the anti-rightist movement and cultural revolution. In the post-Mao era, Deng Xiaoping began to recognize sociology for the role it could play in education during China’s modernization. The rebirth of sociology in China is marked by the reestablishment of the Chinese Sociological Association in 1979. Due to the restrictions there were few sociologists in China at the time, but American sociology jumped to the forefront due to the invitation from Fei Xiaotung, China’s best-known sociologist.