Record Details

In the past decades, the Chinese government has popularized the concept of wenming, translated into English as civil, civility, civilization or culture, through its political and practical use in the public space: banners, pamphlets, advertisements and clips on how to behave as a proper citizen. This paper analyzes the epistemological implications of a concept that signifies beyond its own terms. Thus, taking a holistic perspective and employing historiographical, linguistic and ethnographic sources, the author links the current wenming policy to a structure of power reproduced throughout Chinese history, and endorsed by the state even during the most revolutionary periods. This structural inequality works as a normalizing apparatus that excludes the rural over the urban –class normalization–, the ethnical other over the Han majority –racial normalization– and the feminine over the masculine –gender normalization. A process that has been marked by key historical milestones such as the emergence of Confucianism, Western imperialism, the birth of Chinese nationalism and the re-introduction of market economy in 1978. The author distinguishes this “process of civilization”, a sociogenetic, heterogeneous and multifocal phenomenon, from the concreteness of a political discourse conceptualized in the post-Mao era as a set of particular words and campaigns that the Chinese Communist Party has been shaping since the early 1980s. Therefore, the title of this paper From Process of Civilization to Policy of Civilization describes a transition from the abstract historical process –the wenming process– to the specific political campaigns of wenming –the wenming policy–, being the latter the reification and institutionalization of the ongoing normative process described above.  

(con)textos: revista d'antropologia i investigació social

View Archive Info
 
 
Field Value
 
ISSN 2013-0864
 
Authentication Code dc
 
Personal Name Romero Moreno, Aran
 
Summary, etc. In the past decades, the Chinese government has popularized the concept of wenming, translated into English as civil, civility, civilization or culture, through its political and practical use in the public space: banners, pamphlets, advertisements and clips on how to behave as a proper citizen. This paper analyzes the epistemological implications of a concept that signifies beyond its own terms. Thus, taking a holistic perspective and employing historiographical, linguistic and ethnographic sources, the author links the current wenming policy to a structure of power reproduced throughout Chinese history, and endorsed by the state even during the most revolutionary periods. This structural inequality works as a normalizing apparatus that excludes the rural over the urban –class normalization–, the ethnical other over the Han majority –racial normalization– and the feminine over the masculine –gender normalization. A process that has been marked by key historical milestones such as the emergence of Confucianism, Western imperialism, the birth of Chinese nationalism and the re-introduction of market economy in 1978. The author distinguishes this “process of civilization”, a sociogenetic, heterogeneous and multifocal phenomenon, from the concreteness of a political discourse conceptualized in the post-Mao era as a set of particular words and campaigns that the Chinese Communist Party has been shaping since the early 1980s. Therefore, the title of this paper From Process of Civilization to Policy of Civilization describes a transition from the abstract historical process –the wenming process– to the specific political campaigns of wenming –the wenming policy–, being the latter the reification and institutionalization of the ongoing normative process described above.  
 
Publication, Distribution, Etc. Universitat de Barcelona
 
Electronic Location and Access application/pdf
https://revistes.ub.edu/index.php/contextos/article/view/31308
 
Data Source Entry (con)textos: revista d'antropologia i investigació social; No 8 (2018)
 
Language Note eng
 
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction Note Copyright (c) 2020 (con)textos: revista d'antropologia i investigació social