Christian P. Sorace, Shaken Authority: China’s Communist Party and the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake
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Political ideas and discourse, as Christian P. Sorace points out in his erudite examination of the language used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the post-earthquake reconstruction in Sichuan, play a central role in how the CCP formulates policies, defines legitimacy, and exerts its power. In explaining how power in China actually works, Sorace takes a bold and unapologetic stand against the trend in the study of Chinese politics that dismisses “discourse” as simply being “propaganda,” and provides readers with a rare view of the way the CCP manipulates people to think and speak about what it does.
Using an interpretive methodology, Sorace assembles rich data from living in a residential complex built for earthquake survivors, interviewing over one hundred villagers, government officials, and NGO leaders, examining over one thousand pages of internal CCP reports and leaked memos, and uses these sources to trace the effects of ideology and discourse on local residents’...