The Exemplary Society: Human Improvement, Social Control, and the Dangers of Modernity in China

Hardcover | February 1, 1999

byBorge Bakken

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In modern China, technocratic utopias go side by side with moral panics. The modernization process is seen as creating the `disorders' of criminality, sex, and modern youth culture. The official answer to disorder is an exemplary societyan educative and disciplinary society where `humanquality' and model behaviour is advocated. Modern Chinese society, however, resists being reduced to the exemplary discipline of its social engineers, and strategies of `lying' and resisting control are routine. This pathbreaking study analyses traditional and modern Chinese beliefs about and reactions to education, discipline, human improvement, and social control. Although these reactions to modernity have a Chinese colouring, they are not exclusive to the Chinese culture. By describing the terraincognita of China, The Exemplary Society also describes something about ourselves.

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In modern China, technocratic utopias go side by side with moral panics. The modernization process is seen as creating the `disorders' of criminality, sex, and modern youth culture. The official answer to disorder is an exemplary societyan educative and disciplinary society where `humanquality' and model behaviour is advocated. Modern ...

Borge Bakken is Senior Researcher at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen. He has previously been Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oslo and Research Fellow in the Norwegian Research Council.

other books by Borge Bakken

Crime, Punishment, and Policing in China
Crime, Punishment, and Policing in China

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Format:HardcoverPublished:February 1, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198295235

ISBN - 13:9780198295235

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Table of Contents

Part I: Memories and Dreams of Social Order1. Memories: Construction and Structures of Tradition2. Dreams: Technocracy, Social Engineering, and `Human Quality'Part II: Education, Society, and Morality3. Socialization, Moral Education, and `Moral Science'4. The Educational Method: A Sociological Interpretation5. On Models and ModellingPart III: Norms, Disciplines, and the Exemplary Order6. Discipline and the Exemplary Norm7. The Disciplinary Techniques of Evaluation8. `Human Quality' Frozen into FilesPart IV: Modernity, Deviance, and Danger9. Manifestations of Deviance and Modern Dander10. `Never for the First Time': `Premature Love' and Social Control11. Crime, Juvenile Delinquency, and Deterrence PolicyPart V: Theatre and Simulation12. The Ways of Lying: Concluding Remarks on the Erosion of Control

Editorial Reviews

`a brave and challenging attempt to bridge the political and epistemological crevasses which litter the path to a more inclusive understanding of the meaning of modernization. ... To a non-China specialist, this book is full of insights and represents an extraordinary intellectual effort inbringing together different traditions of thought. ... there is much to enthral and ponder upon in terms of the big questions of social and political thought. It is highly reommended.'Hilary Standing, International Sociology, Vol. 16, No.1