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Zhang, "Nationalism in China: Shifts, contentions, and compromises," 2005

USC thesis in Politics.
August 24, 2009

Zhang, Peimin, M.A.

Abstract (Summary)
An analysis of contemporary Chinese nationalism starting from the 1980s, this thesis starts with a retrospection of its evolution from anti-traditionalism to anti-westernism on the eve of the 1989 Tiananmen Incident, followed by an overview of the regime's efforts to restore its fading legitimacy by constructing patriotism: the launching of a nationwide patriotic campaign, the promotion of material acquisition, and the airing of the yearly Spring Festival Entertainment Extravaganza. Examination is also given to the "me" generation, those born and nurtured in the age of consumerism and materialism, and their response to the inculcation of a unified national ideology. The thesis concludes by exploring the government's ambivalence in handling the spontaneous, emotional-laden nationalism of the masses. Examination of the interplay between the political regime and the populace suggests that pragmatism, or materialism, is a shared value that reconciles and unites the two.

Advisor: Rosen, Stanley