The idea of a “new village” first emerged in the years 1919–20 and was widely discussed by Chinese intellectuals, who advocated for its humanitarian and social justice purposes and its goal of constructing a new society. This article focuses on the new village movement in China from 1919 to 1936, which was imagined and materialized by intellectuals, social reformers, and the Nationalist state in response to crises of capital accumulation, displacement of labor, and urbanization. New villages emerged as a worldwide sociopolitical response to exploitation and class antagonism—the worst effects of capital accumulation and the alienation of labor, under which the creation of everyday spaces for labor reproduction provided the key to constructing a new type of community for social transformation among migrant workers. Whereas the state and capital attempt to “pulverize” new villages into a manageable, calculable, and abstract grid, diverse social forces simultaneously attempt to create, defend, or extend spaces of social reproduction, everyday life, and grassroots control. Thus, the new village's anti-capitalism combined an eminently modern criticism of capitalism with the conservative recovery of an ideal rural community, in an attempt to overcome social inequality and the urban exploitation of the rural caused by capital accumulation.

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