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2014 events

Youth Nationalism in Contemporary China: The State and the Individual

'Youth March' by 'parhessiastes', taken April 2008, Creative Commons licence via seminar with Dr Xuecun Liang, Research Fellow, East China Normal University

4-6pm, Thursday 11 December 2014
Room S3.32, Strand Campus, King's College London

All welcome


Chinese young people’s active involvement in a number of nationalist events alarmed international society about the surge of China’s youth nationalism and its implications for the political future of the rising power. Going beyond the dichotomy between the top-down and the bottom-up approaches, this article explores how China’s reform efforts since 1978 have transformed the relationship between the state and the individual and how this has given impetus to nationalism among the post-80s generation. I argue that the China Model of development creates a vast gap between the state and non-state sectors, reinforcing the role of the state in both national and personal success. The double-track system generates a great deal of social and economic insecurity, which is translated by Social Darwinism into endless personal struggle. This propels the young people to increasingly identify with the System and contribute to its survival.

About the speaker

Xuecun Liang is Research Fellow of East China Normal University, where she focuses on nationalism and state building in late modernizers. She received her PhD degree in Political Science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2011. Between 2013 and 2014, she conducted post-doctoral studies at the University of St Andrews. Her current research projects look particularly to Chinese nationalism as response to the modernization and globalization challenge facing the country and its implications for regime stability.

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