A Nation-State by Construction: Dynamics of Modern Chinese Nationalism / Edition 1

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This is the first historically comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of the causes, content, and consequences of nationalism in China, an ancient empire that has struggled to construct a nation-state and find its place in the modern world. It shows how Chinese political elites have competed to promote different types of nationalism linked to their political values and interests and imposed them on the nation while trying to repress other types of nationalism. In particular, the book reveals how leaders of the PRC have adopted a pragmatic strategy to use nationalism while struggling to prevent it from turning into a menace rather than a prop.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Suisheng Zhao's book is the new standard in the field for studies of Chinese nationalism, is a very important contribution to the comparative politics' nationalism literature in general, and should be a part of the discussion about China's rise given the role of nationalism in debates about Chinese foreign policy."—Journal of Asian Studies

"In this major work, Zhao examines the concept of nationalism in the context of modern Chinese history, exhibiting a total command of a huge body of literature by both Chinese and Western scholars."—Lucien W. Pye, Foreign Affairs

"Zhao's study provides us with a rich and empirically supported nomenclature through which to describe the phenotypical expressions of Chinese nationalism."—H-Net

"Suisheng Zhao adds this thorough and illuminating study to his previous work on the People's Republic of China....Throughout the book Zhao shows an admirable breadth of understanding of both Western and Chinese writings about nationalism."—China Review International

"In this very significant addition to the scholarly literature on Chinese nationalism, Suisheng Zhao provides a lucid and detailed history of the emergence of the idea of the Chinese nation....A Nation State by Construction is an important book. It is based on a wealth of research, and cogently argued."—Asian Studies Review

Foreign Affairs
The dominant narrative of modern China has centered around its transformation from a universalistic empire to a modern nation-state—especially the difficulties of constructing viable elite and mass versions of nationalism. In this major work, Zhao examines the concept of nationalism in the context of modern Chinese history, exhibiting a total command of a huge body of literature by both Chinese and Western scholars. The framework of his story is well known—from the humiliation of the Opium War and the treaty port system to the fall of the Manchus, the May Fourth Movement, and the attempts to fuse communism and nationalism—but his narrative has a freshness and sharpness thanks to his skillful analysis of the complex sentiments that shaped Chinese nationalism at every turn. Zhao holds out hope that, after all the pain China has suffered in the process of modernizing, the country will continue to develop a form of "pragmatic nationalism"—focused on economic growth, and thus concerned with political stability and national unity. All of China's top leaders since Deng Xiaoping have been pragmatic nationalists, Zhao notes, but other versions of nationalism have also won support from sectors of the population.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804750011
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/8/2004
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Suisheng Zhao is Associate Professor at the University of Denver's Graduate School of International Studies, and Executive Director of its Center for China-U.S. Cooperation. He is the founder and editor of the Journal of Contemporary China and has authored and edited five books.

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Table of Contents

1 The rise of Chinese nationalism : causes, content, and international ramifications 8
2 The origins of Chinese nationalism : western challenge, Chinese tradition, ethnicity, and the state 37
3 Building a Chinese nation-state : Elite nationalism versus mass nationalism 79
4 The challenge of Chinese liberal nationalism : personal versus national rights 120
5 The challenge of ethnic nationalism : self-determination versus the unitary Chinese nation-state 165
6 The rise of state-led pragmatic nationalism : an instrumental response to the decline of communism in China 209
7 The international orientations of Chinese nationalism : inward-directed sentiments or outward-directed emotions 248
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