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The green leaves of China : Sociopolitical imaginaries in Chinese environmental nonfiction

Liehr, Matthias

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Abstract

Among the major social changes China has been experiencing for the last thirty years, one of the most notable is the rise of what some scholars have called a “green public sphere" in China. This observation refers to the emergence of new social organizations such as environmental NGOs, as well as particular discourses on environmental issues, sometimes referred to as 'greenspeak'. This study places the emergence of an Chinese environmental public sphere within the larger analytical context of academic fields that deal with questions of cultural hybridity (Bhabha), traveling theory (Said), multiple modernities (Eisensztadt), cultural globalization (Appadurai), transculturality (Welsch), and the global flow of cultural objects (Hannerz).

The central question this dissertation aims to answer is how socio-cultural and political preconfigurations are shaping the way in which a green public in China is emerging, both in terms of structure (institutions) as well as content (discourses)?

To answer this question, the study draws on a body of literary works called “eco-literature” or "ecological literature" ("shengtai wenxue 生态文学 in Chinese). Although a significant body of textual material (textbooks, reportages, novels) has been produced by a number of Chinese environmental activists and writers over the last three decades, these sources remains surprisingly under-researched, as scholarly analysis in Western academic literature so far has largely focused much more on the institutional and organizational aspects of China's civil society.

The study presupposes the relevance of literary texts as a valid source for the analysis of political developments in China. I employ a methodology that combines insights from neo-institutional political theory and framing theory to show how specific ideas, concepts and discourses of global environmentalism have been culturally appropriated within the particular Chinese socio-cultural contex

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Wagner, Prof. Dr. Rudolf G.
Place of Publication: Heidelberg
Date of thesis defense: 26 June 2013
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2014 07:47
Date: 2014
Faculties / Institutes: Service facilities > Exzellenzcluster Asia and Europe in a Global Context
Philosophische Fakultät > Institut für Sinologie
Subjects: 320 Political science
490 Other languages
800 Literature and rhetoric
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sinologie, Volksrepublik China, Umweltpolitik, Umweltaktivismus, Transcultural Flows, Zivilgesellschaft
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