Moralization of China


Authors : Xin Liu (UC Berkeley)

Publisher : World Scientific

ISBN : 978-981-3230-22-4

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Alongside China's vast material development, there came a change of its mental habits, largely affected by the technological revolution in the means of mass communication. This book shows how such a change has brought — and yet been brought by — a new form of pictorial thought, essentially sensuous and imagery, which is suggesting a possible future for the world. Today's China is different from what it used to be; the Maoist years appear, even to the official mind, an absurdity; and this difference is evident in the replacement of the Maoist mass-politics by what should be called "Moral politics", which is petty and personal. It is the moralizing practice that characterizes today's China, when the birth of so-called "ordinary people", taken as a collection of individual authors of their own private lives and personal stories, became an acknowledged social fact, proliferating in all kinds of mass media. This study traces the birth of "ordinary people" to the beginning of the century, when the reformation of the political in terms of personal dilemmas or moral groans began. From the beginning of this century, the moral content of Chinese politics is more and more fulfilled by such as problems of marriage or sexual affairs. In other words, this is participant observation of an affective change in the Chinese mind, where and when sociology became photographic, i.e. the photographer a natural sociologist, and the mold of Facebook or Wechat communication has reshaped the ideographic tradition of its writing system. This is yet another "Cultural Revolution" on the ruins of the Maoist revolution.
Liu Xin is Professor of Anthropology, the University of California at Berkeley, and the author of The Mirage of China, The Otherness of Self, and In One's Own Shadow. He has received his doctoral degree from SOAS, University of London. He was once the Chair of Center for Chinese Studies (2000–2004) at UC Berkeley and is now also affiliated with several universities in China, such as Sun Yatsen University in Guangzhou. His main concern of research is about China's indefinite becoming as a possible future for the world.
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