Disciplining the State: Virtue, Violence, and State-Making in Modern China

Disciplining the State: Virtue, Violence, and State-Making in Modern China

by Patricia M. Thornton
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674025040

ISBN-13: 9780674025042

Pub. Date: 05/15/2007

Publisher: Harvard University Press

What are states, and how are they made? Scholars of European history assert that war makes states, just as states make war. This study finds that in China, the challenges of governing produced a trajectory of state-building in which the processes of moral regulation and social control were at least as central to state-making as the exercise of coercive power.

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Overview

What are states, and how are they made? Scholars of European history assert that war makes states, just as states make war. This study finds that in China, the challenges of governing produced a trajectory of state-building in which the processes of moral regulation and social control were at least as central to state-making as the exercise of coercive power.

State-making is, in China as elsewhere, a profoundly normative and normalizing process. This study maps the complex processes of state-making, moral regulation, and social control during three critical reform periods: the Yongzheng reign (1723-1735), the Guomindang's Nanjing decade (1927-1937), and the Communist Party's Socialist Education Campaign (1962-1966). During each period, central authorities introduced--not without resistance--institutional change designed to extend the reach of central control over local political life. The successes and failures of state-building in each case rested largely upon the ability of each regime to construct itself as an autonomous moral agent both separate from and embedded in an imagined political community. Thornton offers a historical reading of the state-making process as a contest between central and local regimes of bureaucratic and discursive practice.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674025042
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
05/15/2007
Series:
Harvard East Asian Monographs Series, #283
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
275
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Virtue and Venality in the Qing

3. Localist Critiques of Corruption and Virtue

4. Political Corruption and the Nationalist State

5. Local Communities and Political Corruption During the Nanjing Decade

6. Political Corruption and the Maoist State

7. Local Variations in the "Big Four Cleans"

8. Conclusion: The Moral Language of State-Making

Works Cited

Index

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