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postgraduate thesis: Alternative modernity discourse and intellectual politics in modern and contemporary China: a case study ofXueheng school

TitleAlternative modernity discourse and intellectual politics in modern and contemporary China: a case study ofXueheng school
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Vukovich, DF
Issue Date2011
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Yu, X. [郁旭映]. (2011). Alternative modernity discourse and intellectual politics in modern and contemporary China : a case study of Xueheng school. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4807984
Abstract This thesis sets to sketch Chinese intellectuals’ sustained efforts to search for an alternative modernity to the Western model throughout the twentieth century, and uncover the interaction between intellectual politics and Chinese modernity discourse by historicizing and contextualizing Chinese modernity discourse. This study starts with delineating the consistence and the inconsistence of Chinese modernity discourses by juxtaposing different historical conditions and examining reappeared trends of thoughts. Three intellectual currents, i.e., cultural conservatism, humanism, and professionalism, which emerged in the May Fourth period and remerged in the post-socialist condition, are examined to mirror the spiral dynamics and the locus of Chinese modernity. Their respective roles in reconstructing Chinese cultural, ethical and academic orders in response to Western model of modernity are highlighted in the research. Cultural conservatism attempts to legitimize the Chinese culture in the framework of global modernity by resetting or reinterpreting the dialectical relation between the whole and part, universalism, and essentialism. Humanism emphasizes the standard, the guidance of authority, and the self-perfection to resist the ethical disorder caused by the so-called “modern spirit”, which is embodied by individualism, romanticism, and the immoderate expansion of desire. Professionalism influences the pattern of producing and reproducing knowledge about modernity by re-standardizing the academic and the discursive fields and by remolding the identity of the agents. After exposing how the “alternative modernity” in China, as a discursive-political device, has been produced and repackaged with various contents and meanings, this thesis proceeds to explore the intellectual pedestal of Chinese modernity discourses from two aspects. First, how do the intellectual strategies of self-positioning and position-taking influence knowledge production and reproduction of the Chinese modernity discourse; second, how articulation and re-articulation of modernity discourse reflect the self-adjustments of intellectual politics as well as identity shifts. Through the comparative and diachronic examinations, it poses that, as Chinese modernity discourse is increasingly served as a symbolic capital or a strategy of intellectual politics, it gradually loses its authenticity or even becomes a signifier without signified. Meanwhile, the state-led modernization practice is reversely becoming homogenous, stable, and less diverse, although the dominant ideology, namely, socialism with Chinese characteristics, is, in itself, hybrid, paradoxical, and strategically manufactured.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectConservatism - China - History - 20th century.
Humanism - China - History - 20th century.
Dept/ProgramComparative Literature

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorVukovich, DF-
dc.contributor.authorYu, Xuying-
dc.contributor.author郁旭映-
dc.date.issued2011-
dc.identifier.citationYu, X. [郁旭映]. (2011). Alternative modernity discourse and intellectual politics in modern and contemporary China : a case study of Xueheng school. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4807984-
dc.description.abstract This thesis sets to sketch Chinese intellectuals’ sustained efforts to search for an alternative modernity to the Western model throughout the twentieth century, and uncover the interaction between intellectual politics and Chinese modernity discourse by historicizing and contextualizing Chinese modernity discourse. This study starts with delineating the consistence and the inconsistence of Chinese modernity discourses by juxtaposing different historical conditions and examining reappeared trends of thoughts. Three intellectual currents, i.e., cultural conservatism, humanism, and professionalism, which emerged in the May Fourth period and remerged in the post-socialist condition, are examined to mirror the spiral dynamics and the locus of Chinese modernity. Their respective roles in reconstructing Chinese cultural, ethical and academic orders in response to Western model of modernity are highlighted in the research. Cultural conservatism attempts to legitimize the Chinese culture in the framework of global modernity by resetting or reinterpreting the dialectical relation between the whole and part, universalism, and essentialism. Humanism emphasizes the standard, the guidance of authority, and the self-perfection to resist the ethical disorder caused by the so-called “modern spirit”, which is embodied by individualism, romanticism, and the immoderate expansion of desire. Professionalism influences the pattern of producing and reproducing knowledge about modernity by re-standardizing the academic and the discursive fields and by remolding the identity of the agents. After exposing how the “alternative modernity” in China, as a discursive-political device, has been produced and repackaged with various contents and meanings, this thesis proceeds to explore the intellectual pedestal of Chinese modernity discourses from two aspects. First, how do the intellectual strategies of self-positioning and position-taking influence knowledge production and reproduction of the Chinese modernity discourse; second, how articulation and re-articulation of modernity discourse reflect the self-adjustments of intellectual politics as well as identity shifts. Through the comparative and diachronic examinations, it poses that, as Chinese modernity discourse is increasingly served as a symbolic capital or a strategy of intellectual politics, it gradually loses its authenticity or even becomes a signifier without signified. Meanwhile, the state-led modernization practice is reversely becoming homogenous, stable, and less diverse, although the dominant ideology, namely, socialism with Chinese characteristics, is, in itself, hybrid, paradoxical, and strategically manufactured.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B48079844-
dc.subject.lcshConservatism - China - History - 20th century.-
dc.subject.lcshHumanism - China - History - 20th century.-
dc.titleAlternative modernity discourse and intellectual politics in modern and contemporary China: a case study ofXueheng school-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4807984-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineComparative Literature-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4807984-
dc.date.hkucongregation2012-

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