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Title: The politics of pandemics in China since late imperial times : from religious practice to the emergency disciplinary state
Authors: Fang, Xiaoping
Keywords: Humanities::History::Asia
Issue Date: 2020
Source: Fang, X. (2020). The politics of pandemics in China since late imperial times : from religious practice to the emergency disciplinary state. American Journal of Chinese Studies, 27(2), 81-95.
Journal: American Journal of Chinese Studies
Abstract: Deadly pandemics have ravaged China throughout its history due to population mobility and displacement resulting from wars, trade, socio-political restructuring, and globalization. This paper analyzes the changing socio-political interpretations of diseases and pandemics, associated response schemes, and the state’s role in these historical processes from the late imperial Chinese era. It argues that supernatural interpretations of frequent pandemics resulted in religious practice becoming a popular collective response in late imperial China. From the late-nineteenth century, the nationalist significance of diseases facilitated the efforts of modern epidemic prevention in the context of nation-building. However, difficulties in coordination were encountered between central and local governments and between administrative and medical systems. In Mao’s China after 1949, diseases were radically politicized to justify the Party’s political legitimacy. Public health initiatives and interventionist policies designed to control pandemics brought about broader social restructuring and significantly contributed to the rise of an emergency disciplinary state through the integration of both health and political governance. Ultimately, the state would come to play the predominant role in managing public health emergency crises.
ISSN: 2166-0042
Rights: © 2020 American Association of Chinese Studies. All rights reserved.
Fulltext Permission: none
Fulltext Availability: No Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Journal Articles

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