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China Inside Out

Contemporary Chinese Nationalism and Transnationalism

Edited by Pal Nyiri and Johanna Breidenbach

The "war on terror" has generated a scramble for expertise on Islamic or Asian "culture" and revived support for area studies, but it has done so at the cost of reviving the kinds of dangerous generalizations that area studies have rightly been accused of. This book provides a much-needed perspective on area studies, a perspective that is attentive to both manifestations of "traditional culture" and the new global relationships in which they are being played out. The authors shake off the shackles of the orientalist legacy but retain a close reading of local processes. They challenge the boundaries of China and question its study from different perspectives, but believe that area studies have a role to play if their geographies are studied according to certain common problems. In the case of China, the book shows the diverse array of critical but solidly grounded research approaches that can be used in studying a society. Its approach neither trivializes nor dismisses the elusive effects of culture, and it pays attention to both the state and the multiplicity of voices that challenge it.

Published by: Central European University Press


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pp. 1-3

Title page

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p. 4-4

Copyright page

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p. 5-5

Table of Contents

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pp. 6-7

List of Maps and Figures

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pp. 8-9

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pp. ix-xiv

For over a decade, scholars, universities, and research funding bodies have been debating the usefulness of area studies. Heir to a Western tradition of studying non-Western societies that became systematized as a by-product of colonialism, area studies in the way we know them are a Cold War artifact. Symbolically, their birth can be dated to the 1958 National Defense Education Act that provided funding for producing knowledge...

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1. Anthropological Concepts for the Study of Nationalism

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pp. 1-34

China has been a very unique subject of study. There tends to be no comparative aspect to how we approach China and perhaps a kind of reluctance to apply to it a social theory that is developed in other parts of the world. I think it is extremely important to have that kind of comparative aspect in order to be engaged in a conversation about what China is like in other parts of the world...

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2. The Legacy of Empires and Nations in East Asia

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pp. 35-54

In this chapter I will present a broad historical overview of the problems of nationalism, transnationalism and globalism, both conceptually and in terms of Chinese developments. To survey the changing nature of sovereignty and political formations from the 19th century until the present in China, we will be looking at three stages.

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3. Researching Chinese Nationalism: the Foreign Relations Dimension

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pp. 55-69

At the outset, I should make it clear that this chapter is not intended to offer yet another version of nationalism in contemporary China’s foreign relations. A search in an average college library’s database can easily produce a list long enough to satisfy an interested reader’s curiosity on this subject matter....

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4. On the Periphery of the “Clash of Civilizations?” Discourseand Geopolitics in Russo-Chinese Relations

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pp. 70-97

Chinese people I meet love to ask whether Russians think that China is a threat. The answers will depend a lot on how you formulate your question. A polling company called monitoring.ru asked 1,600 respondents in over 100 cities all over Russia in May 2000 whether they thought there was a country in the world today that represented a threat to Russia. 27% of respondents named the United States. In February 2001, this grew to 34%. China trailed the US in this poll with only 3% of the answers in...

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5. Minorities, Homelands and Methods

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pp. 99-140

As Zha Daojiong points out, there are different kinds of nationalism. We can talk about state or official or economic nationalism, which is primarily associated with government organs, official statements, official media, and policies. Or we can talk about popular or ethnic nationalism, which I want to deal with here. Nationalism shouldn’t only be associated with states and central governments; it can also be produced and...

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6. The “New Migrant”: State and Market Constructions of Modernity and Patriotism

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pp. 141-176

In the past decade, “transnationalism” has become a buzzword in the study of migration and diasporas. For me, this concept is, when used in a strict sense, a useful tool to study migration. I must immediately say two things:...

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7. Race in China

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pp. 177-204

While over fifty different “minority nationalities” (shaoshu minzu) are officially recognized to exist in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), well over 90% of the population are classified as Han, a term translated in English as “ethnic Chinese” or “Chinese of native stock.” Despite the existence in China of cultural, linguistic, and regional differences which are as great as those to be found in Europe, the Han are claimed by mainland officials to be a homogeneous ethnic group (minzu) with common origins, a...

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8. Outside In: Sino-Burmese Encounters

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pp. 205-235

My current project, Transnational Identities, National Ideologies and Buddhist Diplomacy in Sino–Myanmar Relations explores the ways in which two state actors— Myanmar (Burma) and China—have used Buddhism as a vehicle for cultural diplomacy in the last decade. My focus is on state-regulated traffic in, and rhetoric about, Buddhist relics, Buddhist delegations, and official visits to Buddhist sites. By examining the linkages between Buddhist diplomacy and China’s economic and strategic...

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9. Alterity Motives

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pp. 236-292

The so-called war on terrorism and the ongoing irresolvable conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan have contributed to the widespread privileging of “tribal” and ethnic identifications in social and critical analyses of politics and culture. The notion “tribe,” after lying discarded in the waste bin of anthropological history for nearly two decades, has been redeployed in both popular and more scholarly depictions to account for the resurgence of ethnic nationalisms and communal identities around the...

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10. The Contemporary Intellectual Context of the China Inside Out Project

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pp. 293-304

The conception of the China Inside Out project is shaped by an effort at a “take,” a set of observations, on the contemporary history of theory and intellectual fashion as it unfolds in certain interdisciplinary and reformed disciplinary arenas concerned with issues of culture, ideas, ideology, and the classic themes of qualitative social science. We are especially interested in the substantive effects of these tendencies on the practices of anthropologists, historians, and sociologists, among others—not only on...


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pp. 305-306


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pp. 307-328

Main Chinese Dynasties

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p. 329-329


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pp. 315-348

Index of Text Boxes

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pp. 349-350


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pp. 351-354

Back cover

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p. 369-369

E-ISBN-13: 9786155053962
Print-ISBN-13: 9789639241954

Page Count: 369

Edition: 1st