Violence, Periodization and Definition of the Cultural Revolution: A Case Study of Two Deaths by the Red Guards

The Cultural Revolution was an important event in China’s modern history.  Beginning in 1966, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, as it was originally known, was Mao Zedong’s attempt to extend and solidify the personality cult that had grown up around him, to purge allegedly “bourgeois,” capitalist, and traditional elements from Chinese society, and to seal his authority as the ideological leader of the Community Party of China.

Mao’s war was nominally against the “revisionists” who were allegedly infiltrating government, the polity, the economy and society at large and who were to be removed through violent class struggle. But the Cultural Revolution evolved into a much wider struggle over the future of the Chinese state. In the end, it became mainly an ideological trope that justified the wanton, brutal murders of millions of Chinese.

This book tells the story of two such murders, the murder of Mr. Wang Jin on September 29, 1966 by 31 Red Guards in the Nanjing Foreign Language School, where author Zhang was a young student at the time; and the earlier murder of Mrs. Bian Zhongyun on August 5, 1966.  These two murders mark the beginning and the end of old Red Guard violence in the CR.  The book is thus a history of two small incidents in a massive social injustice and also an attempt to understand the CR within the framework of modern social movement theory.

“…ground-breaking… a new and meaningful approach towards the study on Red Guard violence…” – Yonsyi Song, California State University at Los Angeles.

Joshua Zhang and James D. Wright, Violence, Periodization and Definition of the Cultural Revolution: A Case Study of Two Deaths by the Red Guards was published in 2018 in both print and electronic versions by  the Dutch publisher Koninklijke Brill. For information on purchasing, visit

Poor and Homeless in the Sunshine State: Down and Out in Theme Park Nation

A place like Orlando, Florida is not transformed from swampland to sprawling metropolis through Peter Pan-like flights of fancy, but through theme park expansions requiring developmental schemes that are tough minded and often worsen relationships between the wealthy and the poor. The homeless arrive with their own hopes and illusions, which are soon shattered. The rest of the local population makes its peace with the system. Meanwhile the homeless are reduced to advocacy models that neither middle- nor working-class folks much worry about. They are modern members of Ellison’s “invisible men” but they comprise a racial and social mixture unlike any other in the American landscape.

This book is primarily about the dark side of this portrait―the poor, near-poor, homeless, and dispossessed who live in the midst of this verdant landscape. The phrase “down and out,” has been used to describe people who are destitute or penniless since the late nineteenth century. Here the term is used in a more expansive sense, as synonymous with anyone who lives near, at, or over the edge of financial catastrophe.

“Wright and Donley provide a detailed account of the ‘other’ Orlando — not the phantasmagorical city associated with Disney and tourism, but the down-and-out world of homeless families, day laborers, the mentally ill with no place to go, and the newly needy of Central Florida. Kudos for social science well-done.” — Richard E. Foglesong, Department of Political Science, Rollins College

“…in-depth and eye-opening…” California Bookwatch

“Wright and Donley do an extraordinary job of weaving a set of important stories about homeless in Central Florida. This resource-rich volume provides important insights into one of America’s greatest woes in one of America’s most popular regions of the country.” – Kevin Fitzpatrick, University of Arkansas

James D. Wright and Amy M. Donley, Poor and Homeless was published in 2011 by Transaction Publishers.

Buy Now

The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition, Volumes 1-26. James D. Wright, Editor in Chief

Fully revised and updated, the second edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, first published in 2001, offers a source of social and behavioral sciences reference material that is broader and deeper than any other. Available in both print and online editions, it comprises over 3,900 articles, commissioned by 71 Section Editors, and includes 90,000 bibliographic references as well as comprehensive name and subject indexes.

Key Features

  •  Provides authoritative, foundational, interdisciplinary knowledge across the wide range of behavioral and social sciences fields
  • Discusses history, current trends and future directions
  • Topics are cross-referenced with related topics and each article highlights further reading

IESBS 2/e took First Prize for Excellence in Reference Works (all fields), awarded by the Association of American Publisher’s Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division PROSE Awards, February, 2016.  The Encyclopedia also won the PROSE Award for Excellence in Multi-volume Reference Work, Humanities and Social Sciences, March, 2016. The work was published by Elsevier in 2015.

For further information, see


Social Problems, Social Issues, Social Science: The Society Papers

Social science has tried to tackle some of the most formidable problems that confront civilization: poverty, destitution and homelessness; revolution and social transformations; relations among the races, genders, and classes; the sources and dynamics of inequality; crime and violence; and the like.  As a science, we believe that these troubles of the human condition can be approached scientifically, that theories and hypotheses about them can be formulated and tested against empirical evidence, that faulty viewpoints can be uncovered and discarded, and that correct theory can be distinguished from mere ideology.  The essays collected here, all of which originaly appeared in Society Magazine, were written in that spirit.

The founder and long-time editor of Society, Irving Louis Horowitz, wrote 20 years ago about the “decomposition” of sociology and contended that the discipline had been transformed from a central discipline within the social sciences to “an ideological outpost of political extremism.” If he is right, all hope for the discipline evaporates.  The essays printed in this volume constitute a thin sliver of evidence that he is wrong.

The book ranges widely over topics such as public opinion and the war in Vietnam, America’s homeless, the minimum wage, the depiction of sociology in the popular press, guns in America, the social advantages of good looks, the future of the American small town, and the nature and treatment of addictions.  What ties these diverse topics into a whole is only that they are the things I have spent my life studying and writing about.

Published by Transaction Publishers in 2016.

Buy Now