From empire to nation-state: Integrating institutional logics in Chinese state legitimation discourse, 1902-2012

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Abstract

The founding of the Republic of China was announced on January 1, 1912, nominally transforming the Chinese empire into the Chinese nation-state. As this paper will show, however, the process of transforming Chinese paternalistic state legitimation discourse to fully embrace ideas of the nation-state and citizenship has been winding and protracted. To examine this process, the paper draws on Neo-Institutional Theory, treating “paternalism” and “the nation-state” as two contradictory institutional logics, or sets of stable cultural rules linking organizations such as the state with their historical and societal environments and thus contributing to their legitimation. Recent developments in Neo-Institutional Theory have started to examine how different institutional logics in society come to be adapted, reinterpreted, and integrated as organizations seek legitimacy and as institutional logics themselves are further institutionalized. This paper thus has the aim of showing how the institutional logics of paternalism and the nation-state have been integrated in a continuous process crossing Chinese regimes from 1902 to 2012. Specifically, it uses legitimation discourse in state policy directives on moral-political education to reveal the progression of logic integration and to identify and demonstrate the specific mechanisms of integration.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

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legitimation
nation state
paternalism
discourse
political education
republic
legitimacy
citizenship
regime
China

Citation

Fairbrother, G. P. (2016, December). From empire to nation-state: Integrating institutional logics in Chinese state legitimation discourse, 1902-2012. Paper presented at The Hong Kong Sociological Association 18th Annual Conference: Coming of Age: Sociology through the Generations, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.