Understanding the Identity Shaping Role of Popular Nationalism in China

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The purpose of this essay is to give further understanding of the relatively new phenomena Chinese popular nationalism. I will have my benchmark in traditional theory of civic and ethnic nationalism but also in popular nationalism theory and the from-culturalism-to-nationalism thesis. To further understand the identity shaping role of the populist movement in China I will separate it from official nationalism of the state and argue for the statement that Chinese nationalism can be a beginning of a democratic civil society. This will be done by conducting a qualitative text-analysis based on previous scholars work in the field of Chinese nationalism. I will use examples of the outbursts of popular nationalism in the 90’s and in the first decade of the 21:st century to illustrate the nature of the popular nationalism movement. My conclusion will present an understanding of popular nationalism as not only a strong grass-root movement that is participating in shaping a Chinese-nation-state in the 21:st century, but as also a way for the Chinese people to express political opinions in an authoritarian nation.

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