Appendix In The Tiger’s Lair:
Socialist Everydayness
Enters the Market Economy
in Post-Mao China
Harry D. Harootunian
Michael Dutton’s Streetlife China
immediately recalls for us not only the
historical break between modernity and everyday life that Henri Lefebvre
recognized as a necessary condition for grasping capitalist transformation
but, more importantly, the now, long-forgotten prehistory that once was
associated with revolutionary agency. In Lefebvre’s meditations on every-
day life—hinted at as early as the 1930s but fully amplified after World
War II—the category of everydayness had already been uncoupled from
an earlier experience identified with the Soviet revolution (and the un-
precedented role played by the masses in the transformation of society) to
become a repressed history. This ghostly revenant punctually resurfaced
with every transformation announcing a new and modern industrial order
thus reminding its agents of the promise of vanished possibilities. It was
the singular aim of the Soviet achievement to replace an understanding of
everyday life that had been linked to the ‘‘daily’’ and the ‘‘contingent’’ with
one demanding political, social and cultural transformation leading to a
massive dehierarchicization of life and the establishment of a democratic
With this transformation of everydayness into an active concept
came also a radical rethinking of Marxist philosophy and theories of cul-
ture that would lead, everywhere the everyday was discursively contested,
to an abandonment of older practices based on naturalism and positiv-
ism. Moreover, it would pose a serious challenge to a second international
historicism that still holds Marxism hostage to the fantasy of progressive,
linear story lines and the domination of stages instead of urging histori-
ans to attend to an analysis of the ‘‘current situation.’’
In Germany and
Japan this reorientation led to envisaging the everyday as a philosophical
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