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

Front Cover
Harvard University Asia Center, 2007 - History - 247 pages
0 Reviews

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.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
1
Virtue and Venality in the Qing
22
Localist Critiques of Corruption and Virtue
45
Copyright

8 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

Patricia M. Thornton is University Lecturer in the Politics of China at Oxford University.

Bibliographic information