The study of contemporary China constitutes a fascinating yet challenging area of scholarly inquiry. Recent decades have brought dramatic changes to China's economy, society and governance. Analyzing such changes in the context of multiple disciplinary perspectives offers opportunites as well as challenges for scholars in the field known as contemporary China Studies. The SAGE Handbook of Contemporary China is a two-volume exploration of the transformations of contemporary China, firmly grounded in the both disciplinary and China-specific contexts. Drawing on a range of scholarly approaches found in the social sciences and history, an international team of contributors engage with the question of what a rapidly changing China means for the broader field of contemporary China studies, and identify areas of promising future research. Part 1: Context: History, Economy, and the Environment Part 2: Economic Transformations Part 3: Politics and Government Part 4: China on the Global Stage Part 5: China's Foreign Policy Part 6: National and Nested Identities Part 7: Urbanization and Spatial Development Part 8: Poverty and Inequality Part 9: Social Change Part 10: Future Directions for Contemporary China Studies

Nationalism and the Nation-state

Nationalism and the Nation-state

Nationalism and the Nation-state
Prasenjit Duara


The study of nation and nationalism in China complicates the standard debates about nationalism in several ways. The debates include issues of whether nations are:

  • historical versus modern;
  • primordial versus constructed/imagined;
  • formed indigenously or by circulatory forms;
  • as imperialistic as national;
  • ethnic versus civic;
  • produced from the top-down or bottom-up;
  • instrumental versus substantive.

While every expression of territorial nationalism qualifies the binary terms of these debates, there is reason to think that the Chinese case is unique in that it is among the most sustained and centralizing administrative powers in world history. As such, by examining the phenomenon in the Chinese context we also gain a general understanding of nationalism and its kinship with related identities and power ...

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