Civilising Citizens in Post-Mao China: Understanding the Rhetoric of Suzhi

1st Edition

Delia Lin

Routledge
January 5, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 189 Pages - 24 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9780367172633 - CAT# K413502

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Summary

Political discourse in contemporary China is intimately linked to the patriotic reverie of restoring China as a great civilisation, a dream of reformers since the beginning of the twentieth century. The concept and use of suzhi – a term that denotes the idea of cultivating a ‘quality’ citizenship – is central to this programme of rejuvenation, and is enjoying a revival. This book therefore offers an accessible and comprehensive analysis of suzhi, investigating the underlying cultural, philosophical and psychological foundations that propel the suzhi discourse. Using a new method to analyse Chinese governance – one that is both historical and discursive in approach – the book demonstrates how suzhi has been made into a political resource by the Chinese Communist Party-State, journeying from Confucianism to socialism. Ultimately, it asks the question: if we cannot rely on Western models of governance to explain how China is governed, what method of analysis can we use? Making use of over 200 Chinese-language primary sources, the book highlights the link between suzhi and similar discourses in post-Mao China, including those centring on notions of ‘civilisation’, ‘harmonious society’ and the 'China dream'.

As the first book to provide an in-depth study of suzhi and its relevance in Chinese society, Civilising Citizens in Post-Mao China will be useful for students and scholars of Chinese studies, Chinese politics and sociology.

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