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Reviews 231 Michael Schoenhals. Doing Things with Words in ChinesePolitics: Five Studies. China Research Monograph, 4L Berkeley: Institute ofEastAsian Studies, University ofCalifornia, Berkeley, 1992. viii, 135 pp. Paperback $10.00. As the author points out in the first chapter ofthis book, the majority ofthe social scientists in Chinese studies still assume die "language as conduit" view about the relationship between language and what is being conveyed bylanguage: language is transparent and tiius does not have an impact on die content. The five studies in this book attest to the contrary and present cases ofmedia control and censorship in modern China to illustrate that language can be manipulated to shape die ideology. Each ofdie five chapters contains one study. Chapter 1, "Formalized Language as a Form ofPower," presents a general introduction to the notion offormulation— the manipulation oflanguage in order to, in this context, attain, consolidate, and preserve state power. The various stages oflanguage formulation since 1949 are summarized , and their reflections ofthe political climate at the time are discussed. Chapter 2, "Party Circulars Proscribing and Prescribing Terminology," gives formulation examples from intrabureaucratic Party circulars that range from Lin Biao's manipulation ofthe propagandamachinery in order to gain popularityby appearing as a modest person in the 1960s to slogan changes due to policy shift regarding die handling of"spiritual pollution" in the early 1980s. Chapter 3, "Ghost-Writers: Expressing "The Will ofthe Authorities,'" examines two contrasting working relationships between two political leaders, Lin Biao and Hu Yaobang, and dieir respective ghostwriters. Chapter 4, "Direction ofthe Press: Hu Qiaomu's 1955 Breakfast Chats," analyzes some ofHu's postpublication remarks on the People's Daily news stories given as guidelines for the newspaper staff. As the principal mediator between the Party and die newspaper, Hu's comments were intended, and were received by the journalists in the 1950s, as the "rules ofdie game" for the art ofself-censorship. Chapter 5, "Censorship, Humanities, and Social Sciences," discusses the ways censorship intervenes in what the author calls academic discourse. In addition to controls through proscribing and prescribing what terms can be used in discussion and what metiiodology can be applied in analysis, censorship is further enforced through other channels such as heavy editing ofthe early writings ofeminent political figures. Overall, the autiior expresses pessimism about the deemphasizing oflanguage control in the near future. Typos are few; footnotes are useful but not interfering; references are com-© 1995 by University prehensive. This book is highly recommended to historians, political scientists, ofHawaiiPressmedia specialists, sociologists, and linguists who are interested in modern China. Yung-O Biq San Francisco State University ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
p. 231
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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