Counterpolitics of Liberation in Contemporary China:Corruption, Law, and Popular Religion

Susanne Brandtstädter argues that,  where the realities of market liberalisation and governing through law are experienced as corruption, feudal superstition recreates the conditions to realise liberated peasant subjects: a participatory local public sphere, political visibility, investments in the public good, and a new collective property.

This article explores the hidden transfers between law and religion by focussing on the conditions of existence of ‘liberated’ peasant subjects in contemporary China. The post-Maoist era sought to create new citizens from the collectivised Maoist masses who are subject to market reforms and a new politics of ‘governing through law’ (fazhi). At the same time, new religiousities have blossomed in the Chinese countryside. Representing popular religion, their collective practices remain illegal until today. I argue that, beyond the issue of belief, contemporary ‘feudal superstition’ does not represent a form of anti-secular resistance, but rather confirms the central tenets of Chinese secularism from the perspective of ‘failed’ peasant subjects. Where the realities of market liberalisation and governing through law are experienced as corruption, feudal superstition recreates the conditions to realise liberated peasant subjects: a participatory local public sphere, political visibility, investments in the public good, and a new collective property.

Emneord: China, Corruption, Market economy
Publisert 11. des. 2012 13:40 - Sist endret 16. juni 2015 13:11