Civilising Citizens in Post-Mao China: Understanding the Rhetoric of Suzhi
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This thesis studies the prevailing suzhi discourse in post-Mao China. It addresses two main research questions: (1) What are the processes through which suzhi has developed as a state discourse? (2) What is the underlying cultural, philosophical and psychological foundation that propels suzhi discourse? Through an examination of the process of the developments of suzhi and suzhi jiaoyu, this thesis seeks to understand patterns and rationalities underpinning suzhi discourse in politics and education, and how political discourse and the ideology behind that discourse infiltrates the psyche of citizens and those who govern citizens in post-Mao China. This thesis argues that as a prevalent political and cultural idea, suzhi provides a window into the psychological logic and rationale of current day political thinking in China about how a government enlists a civilising program in their quest for national development, modernity and prosperity. This thesis introduces the concept of transformational citizenship as a means of understanding how a political rationale prioritises transforming citizens through education and civilising projects. Transformational citizenship is defined as a type of citizenship that presumes an inadequate citizen and emphasises the necessity and possibility of transforming through practice and learning a citizen’s embodied qualities and thought patterns into the essential qualities and thought patterns required of a responsible and eligible citizen.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Humanities
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