Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: A discourse analysis of Sino-Vatican relations, 1949-1958 : the evolution of a long-standing stalemate
Author: Fu, Yongjia
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The question of this thesis is why the Vatican and China severed diplomatic ties in the 1950s to the extent that over 60 years later they still have not reached a rapprochement. In previous literature, this long-term stalemate was often regarded as the result of ‘incompatible identities’ (communism versus theism) between the PRC and the Vatican. However, this thesis argues that this rigid view of identity has led to a highly oversimplified and biased understanding of Sino-Vatican relations – the agency of Beijing and Rome in Sino-Vatican interactions was ignored. To get a deeper insight into the current stalemate in Sino-Vatican relations, we must return to the early period (1949-1958) in Beijing and Rome’s history of interaction and discuss why the stalemate was formed in the first place. In order to do so, this thesis covers major ‘flashpoints’ in Sino-Vatican relations from 1949-1958 and analyses the key texts from both Beijing and Rome. Borrowing from Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory, the dialogue between China and the Vatican will be regarded as the two states’ efforts to claim and fix the meanings of certain key signifiers in their discourse by forming ‘chains of equivalence’. This thesis uses a considerable amount of de-classified archival material on the Chinese side that has never been revealed before, which provides rich evidence to support a new interpretation of Sino-Vatican relations. The thesis concludes that the stalemate in Sino-Vatican relations can be attributed to Beijing and Rome’s mutual misunderstanding of each other’s key signifiers. The original contribution of this case study to IR theory and discourse theory is an analysis of how key signifiers in a state’s discourse matter and can cause serious misunderstandings. To avoid this kind of impasse, it is essential to precisely analyse the meaning of key ideological signifiers in state interactions and diplomacy.
Supervisor: DeHanas, Daniel Nicholas ; Davies, Oliver Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available