Home Political science China’s Ethical Revolution and Regaining Legitimacy: Reforming the Communist Party through Its Public Servants
The practice of balance is what Dillon calls “a politics of an infinity of temporal finitude” (2015: 81); or what Nietzsche refers to as the “spiritualization of enmity,” by which each antagonism can come to appreciate the extent to which its self-definition is bound up with the other and the degree to which the comparative projections of both are contestable (Connolly 1993: 382). This is the rationality of counter-imbalance. It differs from liberal tolerance, in affirming a more ambiguous relation of interdependence and strife between identities over a passive letting the other be (382). Thus, the contestation between the self and the other is the foundation of the formation of putative identity (382). In other words, our identities are relational and we are vulnerable to one another in ways that induce suffering, pleasure, anger and joy (Amoureux 2015: 9). What we have observed in this chapter is that it is through becoming and authentic participation that officials in the presence of others appear to access a rite of passage to a more ethical state.
The balance between the individual and the community, between reason and emotion, between modernity and tradition and so on has been deeply built into the fundamental structure of collective mentality and the way of life (Shim and Han 2010: 253). In this context, the remnant is disengagement, while hybridization is the full engagement with the contradictions. In other words, the criticism and self-criticism sessions are a process that turns the subject into an object and separates him from others and its divisions (mad/sane, diseased/healthy, criminal/innocent) and associated techniques of domination (Foucault 2014: 284).
At the macro level (e.g., at the senior Party level), the aim is to encourage “the tendency to become fully engaged in the performance of every role in one’s total role system, to approach every typical role and role partner with an attitude of attentiveness and care” (Marks and MacDermid 1996: cited in Greenhaus et al. 2003: 512). With regard to this aim there are two possibilities: positive role balance that is an expression of full engagement, which is in contrast to negative role balance in which individuals are disengaged in every role (512). This chapter has been dedicated to exploring the ritualist practices associated with the criticism and self-criticism study sessions. In many ways, the study sessions can be described as mechanisms for the reactivation of solidarity and community amongst officials, through the process of reinserting obligations, ethos of service and an emphasis on duty to the masses. Connolly would describe this as the emergence of a potential ethos of agonistic care. Thus, it is this extensive cultivation of a political ethos of agonistic care that makes a real difference in private and public life, for it is a political problematic of interrogation, engagement and negotiation, not a political doctrine of intrinsic identity, consensus and resolution (Connolly 1993: 383). Thus, as Connolly further illustrates:
Its impossible utopia is agonistic respect among differences irreducible to a rational consensus in settings where it is often necessary to establish general policies. It locates freedom in the gaps and spaces fostered by these collisions and negotiations rather than in a pattern of harmonious unity or private sanctuary it hopes to realize. It counsels recurrent disturbance and negotiation of the numerous paradoxes of political life over attempts to conceal, resolve, or repress them. (383)
In Chap. 10, our attention will turn to the various outcomes associated with the institutionalization of techniques by the Party to illustrate the process of how various remnants and hybridizations are produced.
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