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Disenchanted Democracy offers a critical mapping of the unknown waters of Chinese cultural criticism in the politically disenchanted 1990s. It focuses on the theoretical debates of post-Tiananmen Chinese intellectuals, relates those debates to the international context of theory and power, and prepares the ground for further discussions on many important theoretical and political issues.
This book breaks new ground in the study of contemporary Chinese intellectual development by allying cultural criticism with a quest for democracy. It approaches democracy, in the context of cultural criticism, less as a series of abstract propositions than as a site or space in which practices of change and good society, pluralism and consensus, knowledge and power, and citizenship and humanity come into sharper focus. Through careful analyses of the 1990s humanist-spirit discussion, new Chinese national studies, and postmodern-postcolonial theory in China, this book reveals how notions of modernity, enlightenment, orientalism, and national and cultural identities are contested in Chinese cultural discussion after 1989.
Disenchanted Democracy will be of interest to students and scholars working on modern and contemporary Chinese cultural and theoretical discourses. An engaging and challenging observation of contemporary Chinese cultural politics, this book will also be welcomed by those who have more general concerns with Chinese society, politics, and intellectuals in the 1990s.