Stephan Feuchtwang, Professor, Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science

Civilisation in China and the modernising PRC’s culture project

The civilisation of dynastic China was a centring of the cosmos and also a political centring that I think can be theorised as a constantly adjusted hegemony of mandate or fate and a dispersal of territorial centres. Some of that has continued into the People's Republic but under a more strictly Gramscian hegemony of a people and its history in which the ruling bloc is constantly claiming and reclaiming what it is constantly defining and redefining as culture and heritage. The combination of urban planning, the bulldozer, the culture project and the local Party's mission of social management are powerful hegemonic forces but they too are subject to appropriation and the place-making activities of residents, which include some of the ritual appropriations of the older civilisation and government through rites. This argument will be based on case studies by researchers with whom I have worked.

All seminars in the series.