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Technologies of the Self

As we have discussed in Chap. 8, in order to encourage the internalization of new identities and interests within subjects (and within the Party), there is a process of institutionalization of various techniques, such as learning from moral examples and historical narratives and criticism and self-criticism in meetings. Within this process, there is a notion of “self-cultivation,” which involves processes and practices of ethical reflexivity, which facilitates a critical ontology of the self: a willingness to take the self as an object of inquiry and an openness to self-transformation via internal and external dialogue (Amoureux 2015: 101). Selfcultivation creates a functional relationship between taking care of the self and taking care of others. The care of the self is realized in the practice of the self: the practice of the self is at the core of the care of the self and the care of the people, while the care of the self extends the practice of the self into an integral cultural and social strategy (Horujy 2015: 18). This leads to the question: how is the governing of the self, or the care of the self, to be achieved within the self? Following the discussion of the institutionalization of techniques through criticism and self-criticism study sessions in Chap. 8, in this chapter, we will examine in detail how the care of the self is to be practised within the self through the culture of self-cultivation.

© The Author(s) 2017 239

S. Zhang, D. McGhee, China’s Ethical Revolution and Regaining Legitimacy, Politics and Development of Contemporary China,

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-51496-3_9

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