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Janku, Andrea (2003) Nur leere Reden: Politischer Diskurs und die Shanghaier Presse im China des späten neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. (Only Empty talk: political discourse and the Shanghai press in the late nineteenth century China). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

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This thesis examines the structural transformation of China’s spheres of political debate brought about by the modern press during the second half of the nineteenth century. It argues that the Confucian literati who found employment as journalists in treaty-port Shanghai justified their new role by seeing themselves as the better alternative to the dysfunctional institution of the censorate. Building on earlier efforts to broaden the scope of Han-Chinese scholars’ involvement in the political decision-making process reaching back to the early years of the nineteenth century, they worked towards the establishment of the press as a non-official and public institution of political debate. This process went not without conflicts and internal contradictions. Whereas they strove to re-establish themselves within the political order of the Qing empire, they could become active only by virtue of their marginal situation in the Western-dominated treaty port, working for Western-owned newspapers. The medium they used worked to dissolve the very structures they sought to renovate. Whereas in style and rhetoric they preserved the hierarchical structure of communication, often writing as if they were officials forwarding a memorial to the throne, through the newspaper their contributions were distributed horizontally and reached more diverse social strata. This process led to a renegotiation of the concepts of “elite” (shi) and “people” (min) and their roles within the polity, exemplified most vigorously in the writings of Liang Qichao. It found its practical expression in the protest movements of the first decade of the early twentieth century.

Item Type: Authored Books
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of History
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
ISBN: 9783447044608
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2008 15:53

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