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Title: Time, space and multiplicity in China's harmonious world
Author: Nordin, Astrid
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 5531
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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Multiplicity is a key challenge and opportunity of world politics, yet scholars continue to struggle to do it justice. One way of reducing the challenge multiple times and spaces present us with has been to organise them allochronically, to align spatial difference in temporal sequence. The effect is a story where others are not different, they are just behind. Scholars have criticised this thinking as it appears in “Western thought”. In recent years, suggestions have emerged that Chinese thought may offer an alternative that escapes allochronic thinking, most notably through the foreign policy-driven concept “harmonious world”. Scholars have studied this term with the aim of finding out its true meaning. This thesis asks instead what “harmony” – and more specifically “harmonious world” – does when it is deployed in contemporary China. It traces the concept across several contexts: the policy documents and speeches that launched it as an official term; the academic literatures that asked what a harmonious world might look like; the propaganda at Expo 2010 Shanghai China that aimed to illustrate it; and the online spoofing culture egao that was used to criticise, resist and avoid “harmonisation”.The key claim of this thesis is that “harmonious world”, as articulated in the contexts examined here, has not taken place, is not taking place and will not take place. Ways of thinking about time, space and multiplicity in China’s relation to the world, and particularly “harmonious world”, repeat the allochronising logic recognisable from “Western” discourses, which disallows the openness of the future and reduces the possibilities of harmony and of the political. As an effect of its excessive proliferation harmony disappears as an imagined metaphysical possibility . The harmonious system is not based on co-operation or non co-operation, but works according to what this thesis calls an onco-operative logic: the quasi-suicidal logic of cancer and the (auto)immune. Ultimately, the aim and most important contribution of this thesis is to bring the onco-operative uncertainty of the political back into the harmonious world concept in order to elucidate the negotiation of danger and necessity of multiplicity.
Supervisor: Callahan, William; Zehfuss, Maja Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: China ; international relations ; harmony ; harmonious world ; time ; space ; Baudrillard ; Derrida ; expo ; resistance