Redefining Chinese nationalism: State -society relations and China's modernization in the era of globalization
In recent years, there is a growing interest in Chinese nationalism. Assessing Chinese nationalism, many scholars frame their analysis from a state-centric perspective. They assert that a decline of official ideology through the 1990s has let the Chinese Communist Party to identify nationalism as a potential source of regime legitimization. Recent studies of Chinese foreign policy in the West often link the "new nationalism" with the rise of China, and nationalism was depicted as a state sponsored ideology to replace the declined socialism as China marched to modernization.
Rather than approaching "Chinese nationalism" as a single, unified phenomenon, this dissertation interprets contemporary Chinese nationalism as a cultural construct. The construction of nationalism is a complicated process that must be situated in China's on-going and multifaceted negotiation with modernization and globalization. It also accompanies the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s creation of a "hegemonic patriotism," and diversified intellectual debates regarding modernization, tradition, cultural identity and state legitimacy. Put another way, nationalist sentiments are constructed by a multiplicity of discourses and identities, and within a cultural space where official and nonofficial ideas intertwine. Chinese nationalism is not "one" thing, but is several nationalisms at once. This dissertation analyzes the various forms of Chinese nationalism and their intrinsic tensions and contradictions, as well as the theoretical explorations and critiques that have unfolded from issues such as modernization and globalization.
It concludes with some general observations that in the era of globalization, although there is a strong concern in the West about the rise of Chinese nationalism and the "China threat", the likely scenario is one of China's continued integration into the global economy rather than conflict. Chinese nationalism is not merely a product of state ideology. On the contrary, struggles over Chinese nationalism continue to be characterized by fragmented, decentralized, and conflictual dynamics between state and civil society.