Den kinesiske stats bestræbelser på at forme normer og forventninger (1949-2020)

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Bo Ærenlund Sørensen


University of Copenhagen


DKK 1,337,821




Reintegration Fellowships


Throughout the existence of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Chinese party-state has sought resolutely to influence popular norms, beliefs, and expectations. This has been attempted-and for long periods with significant success-through the careful production of newspapers, plays, novels, movies, songs, political campaigns, text books, rituals, sporting events, penal practice, etc. This project will attempt to reverse-engineer the strategies pursued by China's party-state, in order to gain a better grasp of what popular attitudes and behaviors the party-state has identified as the most problematic. This will increase our understanding of how cultural traditions, social norms, and political plans have interacted to create the stunning trajectory of Chinese history since 1949.


Recently, a prominent political scientist described the PRC as a "red swan," in the sense that the dominant approaches to studying China's political economic and political system appear increasingly disconnected from reality, because they are based on the assumption that China's political and economic system must either move in the direction of political pluralism and economic liberalization or else collapse due to popular dissatisfaction and problems with managing the increasingly complex economy. This inability to come to grips with some of the central assumptions and mechanisms that have produced China's transformations after Mao becomes increasingly problematic as China's increasing gravity is ineluctably reshaping global norms and institutions.


This project will be based on analysis of three different types of sources: 1) digitized newspaper archives: 2) data from various online platforms: 3) popular movies, novels, magazines, and other cultural products. Together, these sources allow us an understanding of the evolution of China's social imaginary as well as of the ways in which the Chinese party-state has attempted to shape this social imaginary. The analysis will rely on a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative analysis will examine the changing meaning of keywords, the affective coloring of terms, the use of popular myths, the changing moral discourse, descriptions of motivating factors, the depiction of threats and the attempts to use or defuse terms related to religiosity and bodily healt.

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