1st Edition

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

By Delia Lin Copyright 2017
    201 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    202 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.


    A Note on Translation and Transliteration

    List of Tables and Figures

    1 Introduction

    2 The Confucian Legacy of Suzhi

    3 The Paradigm of Suzhi: Transformational Citizenship

    4 Manufacturing Suzhi: from Mini to Mighty

    5 The Wenming-Suzhi-Hexie-Zhongguo Meng Continuum: the Process of Pan-politicisation

    6 Suzhi Jiaoyu: a Word that Succeeds and a Policy that Fails

    7 Conclusion

    Appendix: Research Design for Chapter 4



    Delia Lin lectures at the School of Social Sciences at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Her research interests include political thought, governance, ideology and discourse.