China Inside Out

China Inside Out: Contemporary Chinese Nationalism and Transnationalism

Pál Nyíri
Joana Breidenbach
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 369
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  • Book Info
    China Inside Out
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-615-5053-96-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Maps and Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Overview
    (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 on areas of the world important to the United States’ security. Although in the subsequent decades, the link between American political agenda and the contents of area studies research essentially disappeared, the very...

  5. Chapter 1 Anthropological Concepts for the Study of Nationalism
    (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. This chapter will first talk about anthropology, which is my discipline, and present my approach to the subjects of the nation, nationalism, and transnationalism. Anthropology...

  6. Chapter 2 The Legacy of Empires and Nations in East Asia
    (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.

    Until the late 19th century, the tribute system is the model of relationships between different state formations in the region of the empire that we call China and immediately around it.

    In the Chinese and in other imperial states, the edges, the boundaries of the empire, the frontier...

  7. Chapter 3 Researching Chinese Nationalism: the Foreign Relations Dimension
    (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.

    China’s conduct in international affairs is a common feature in news coverage around the world. College courses on international relations almost invariably cover China and its pursuit of respect in the world. Now that China is more engaged in the process of economic globalization, public seminars are yet another...

  8. Chapter 4 On the Periphery of the “Clash of Civilizations?” Discourse and Geopolitics in Russio-Chinese Relations
    (pp. 71-98)

    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 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 May 2000 and 5% in February 2001. And the most...

  9. Chapter 5 Minorities, Homelands and Methods
    (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 disseminated by groups not associated with states and their boundaries. This is what I will call “deterritorialized nationalism.”

    The issue of scales is also important in describing different types of nationalism: In addition to...

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

    1. that I take migration in the broadest sense to be the movement of people between places perceived to be culturally different; and

    2. that I am interested in this movement because it produces particularly intense cultural imaginaries of the self and of the other, i.e., discourses of identity.

    When Glick Schiller et al. (1994) introduced the concept of transnationalism, they...

  11. Chapter 7 Race in China
    (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 shared history, and an ancestral territory. “Han” and “Chinese” have become virtually identical not only within official...

  12. Chapter 8 Outside In: Sino-Burmese Encounters
    (pp. 205-236)

    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 integration into Southeast Asia, I aim to emphasize how culture can be mobilized as a political commodity, and how cultural transactions can become intertwined, however precariously, tenuously, or unintentionally,...

  13. Chapter 9 Alterity Motives
    (pp. 237-292)

    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 globe. Self-appointed globalization experts have unwittingly concluded that globalization and nationalism go hand-in-hand, and that nationalism is but a modern form of tribalism. Popularly,...

  14. Chapter 10 The Contemporary Intellectual Context of the China Inside Out Project
    (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 research practices (particularly on the signature fieldwork-ethnography paradigm of anthropology), but also on the imaginaries (the current ideas, evoked images, moral stances)...

  15. Contributors
    (pp. 305-306)
  16. Glossary
    (pp. 307-314)
  17. Main Chinese Dynasties
    (pp. 315-315)
  18. Literature
    (pp. 316-348)
  19. Index of Text Boxes
    (pp. 349-350)
  20. Index
    (pp. 351-354)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 355-355)