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Title Forging the Imperial Nation: Imperialism, Nationalism, and Ethnic Boundaries in China's Longue Duree.
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Sociology
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Michigan
Abstract In this dissertation, I study the dynamics of ethnic group boundaries in China, emphasizing its continuity through changes from the pre-imperial times to the present day. I distinguish the imperial, patrimonial pattern of ethnic relations, to which China belongs as a case, from the colonial and national type in which ethno-racial boundary-making tends to function as a source of social inequality and political discrimination. Further, I depict the post-imperial Chinese state as the ‘imperial nation,’ enshrining the traditional Sinic ideals of statehood and nationhood together with the patrimonial structures of ethno-territorial governance, albeit with reconfigurations in a national form. The current imperial nation of China is to some degree the prison-house of nation, which symbolizes the fundamental contradiction of being in the midst of the empire-nation continuum in the age of nation-states. Yet, like most non-colonial world-empires, it is modeled not on ethnic exclusion but on the trans-ethnic inclusion underscoring its multiethnic unity. Therefore, I critically examine several misunderstandings and misconceptions in that scholarship which interprets Chinese realities through the lenses of racism, internal colonialism, and Oriental Orientalism. I illustrate ethnicity in China as an imagined category associated with the state-making process and examine how the macro-level structure has affected the individual’s ethnic self-identity. I identify three major characteristics, which constitute major chapters of this study. First, I discuss the ethnic boundary-making process in both cognitive and institutional dimensions. Despite the enduring evidence of Sinocentric prejudice, the various Chinese states have institutionalized ethnic categories not so much to discriminate against non-Han groups as to protect and privilege them compared with the Han peoples. Second, I trace the ethnic boundary-clearing characteristic in the construction of national self-imagery. The conception of common descent as the primordial foundation of Chinese genealogical nationalism has not identified one particular group at the expense of others, but has been employed to integrate diverse ethnicities within one big family, often portrayed as descendants of the mythical Yellow Emperor. Lastly, I demonstrate the porous nature of ethnic boundaries at the individual level, based on the analysis of the Eight Banner household registers as an empirical case of boundary-crossing.
Subjects/Keywords Imperial Nation; Chinese Nationalism; Ethnic Boundaries; Patrimonialism; Max Weber; Sociology; Social Sciences
Contributors Anderson, Barbara A. (committee member); Lee, James (committee member); Suny, Ronald G. (committee member); Tsutsui, Kiyoteru (committee member)
Language en
Rights Unrestricted
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:2027.42/89783
Repository umich
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2019-02-05
Grantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies
Issued Date 2011-01-01 00:00:00
Note [thesisdegreename] Ph.D.; [thesisdegreediscipline] Sociology; [thesisdegreegrantor] University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; [bitstreamurl] http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/89783/1/bhlee_1.pdf;

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