Governance of Life in Chinese Moral Experience
The Quest for an Adequate Life
Edited by Everett Zhang, Arthur Kleinman, Weiming Tu
Routledge – 2011 – 270 pages
China has experienced a tremendous turn-around over the past three decades from the ethos of sacrificing life to the emergent appeal for valuing life. This book takes an interdisciplinary look at China during these decades of transformation through the defining theme of governance of life. With an emphasis on how to achieve an adequate life, the contributors integrate a whole range of life-related domains including: the death of Sun Zhigang, the peril caused by rising tobacco consumption, the emerging suicide intervention, the turning points in the fight against AIDS, the intensely evolving birth policy, the emerging biological citizenship, and so on. In doing so, they explore how biological life has been governed differently to enhance the wellbeing of the population instead of promoting ideological goals. This change, dubbed "the deepening in governmentality," is one of the most important driving forces for China’s rise, and will have huge bearings on how the Chinese will achieve an adequate life in the 21st century. This book presents works by a number of internationally known scholars and will be of interest to students and scholars of anthropology, sociology, political science, history, Chinese philosophy, law, and public health.
"What appeals to me most in this volume is the way in which the chapters together, but from very different perspectives, manage to highlight fundamental human issues regarding the governing of life and death in China, and Chinese people's search (and sometimes demand) for adequate lives. The chapters provide valuable insights into how governmental practices interchange with cultural norms; what people in China have come to regard as crucial for living adequate lives; and what they therefore expect from their government and from themselves as subjects. The book is easily accessible, with chapters that often include good definitions of key concepts and overviews of topics concerning governmentality in China. It should therefore make a welcome contribution not just to specialists but also to students at earlier stages of their studies." - Mette Halskov Hansen, University of Oslo, Norway; Asian Anthropology, Vol. 10 (2011)
'This is a complex book with complex papers, looking at many interesting domains of life and power in modern China. All the authors analyze political and ethical aspects of social phenomena in modern China in terms of the “Chinese moral experience”.' - Lili Lai, Peking University; The China Journal (July 2013).
Introduction China: Incomplete Governmentality Part I Min yi shi wei tian (People Regard Food as Top Priority)1 Feeding the Revolution 2The Language of Food 3 The Truth about the Death Toll of the Great Leap Famine in Sichuan Part II The Politics and Morality of Death 4 The Death of a Detainee 5 The Life of Sino Sacer 6 Political Ambition, Life and Personal Success Part III Governing Life 7 The Memory of Barefoot Doctor System 8 Turning Points in China’s AIDS Response 9 Governing Chinese Life Part IV From Living Being to Wellbeing 10 Citizen Satisfaction with Government Performance 11 Debating Women’s Rights and Indigenous Rights in Hong Kong 12 Biological Citizenship and its Form Afterword