Publisher: Charles H. Kerr
Released: October 26, 2021
Social Contagion presents the untold story of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. Chuang, a collective of communists living inside and outside China, chronicle the struggles of everyday people caught between a lethal virus and a repressive state. They argue that China’s rapid but fragile economic growth has created the social and biological conditions for new and deadly viruses, of which COVID-19 was merely the latest iteration. Through on-the-ground interviews, reports, and analysis, Social Contagion gives us a piercing portrait of the simultaneously draconian and ineffectual response of the Chinese state, as well as the self-organizing survival strategies of ordinary Chinese workers. Chuang concludes that the pandemic has enabled a new mode of counterinsurgent governance, one rooted in decades of institutional experimentation and an emergent theory of statecraft.
"Chuang has unfailingly produced the most penetrating analysis on China for the international left. Their latest work on the pandemic and the social crisis it engendered clears up much of our confusion and illusion, and offers surprising insights into the nature of the state and working class responses. It is a much-needed intervention and reassessment of our present moment."
“Chuang has consistently been the single best English-language source for radical analysis of China, and this volume does not disappoint. The combination of razor-sharp critique paired with in-depth empirical accounts of daily life and social mobilization under the pandemic presents an urgently needed reassessment of the politics of China’s capitalist transformation.”
“This book is about China, the COVID-19 pandemic, and global crisis. At its most expansive, it draws historical lines of analysis between capitalism as a socio-economic way of governance and the biological as a zoonotic way of life; at its more molecular, it reports on situated people living in specific political, social, and physical distress and resistance."