Home Political science China’s Ethical Revolution and Regaining Legitimacy: Reforming the Communist Party through Its Public Servants
Comparisons, Paradigms and the Remnant of Division: Our Approach
As we discussed in Chap. 2, in many ways, various notions contained in the discursive field of the China Dream, such as the China Model, the Washington consensus, Western culture, Chinese tradition and so on, are set as groups of notions for divisions and comparisons. As we will show in this chapter, the method of comparison is merely a matter of judging and choosing. It is, however, impossible to compare without assuming some sense of judgement with which the comparator affirms his or her identity and difference. As we suggested in the previous chapter, this kind of comparative consciousness is conditioned, influenced and shaped by the “operational infrastructure” of colonial modernity (Wang 2012: 756).
Indeed, if an opposed pair of concepts defines a particular field, neither of the two can be excluded entirely without compromising its reality (Agamben 2015: 15). As we pointed out in Chap. 2, the origin of knowledge is impure, residing in the construction of objects that are the fruits of the technologies of power that isolates a certain number of entities and separates them as specific objects (Lagasnerie 2015: 116). Thus, although we can retain the idea that something is true, that it comprises a body of knowledge, we can also, at the same time, accept that it is vested historically and politically (117). In other words, what is written and read is not necessarily what happened; “reality” is packed and presented in particular ways in order to reformulate things (Farge 2015: 51). This way of viewing things can have rich implications for such divisions as that between democracy and authoritarianism; as Connolly argues:
© The Author(s) 2017 45
S. Zhang, D. McGhee, China’s Ethical Revolution and Regaining Legitimacy, Politics and Development of Contemporary China,
We do not demand democrats to incorporate the entire sensibility of the communist as a condition of respect; we merely call on them to acknowledge the contestability of its claim to intrinsic moral order and to affirm selfrestrictions in the way it advances its agenda in the light of this admission.
In this way, space for politics can be opened through a degree of reciprocity amid contestation; new possibilities for the negotiation of difference are created by identifying traces in the other of the sensibility one identifies in oneself and locating in the self elements of the sensibility attributed to the other. (1993: 382)
We will demonstrate the relationships between the self and the other through examining the relationships between the Party and corruption, and the relationship between the Party and what it categorizes as undesirable working styles (which is simultaneously the Party’s other or the Party’s problematizations) in the following chapters. By so doing, we can facilitate the examination of the relationship between the care of the self and the care of the other, to differentiate the other from the self, and to examine the self from the perspective of the other, by which an element of care is built into contestation and an aspect of contestation into care (382). We will show how governing rationalities at the macro level can be linked (through relationships between governing others and governing the self) with rationalities at the micro level by embracing the concept of “paradigm” and “remnant” developed by Agamben. In this chapter, we will explore the possibilities of moving beyond the various epistemological divisions in this field and how a more fruitful approach might be employed for understanding the impact of particular clusters of discourses.
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