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Shaken AuthorityChina's Communist Party and the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake$
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Christian P. Sorace

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501707537

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501707537.001.0001

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Party Spirit Made Flesh

Party Spirit Made Flesh

(p.40) 2 Party Spirit Made Flesh
Shaken Authority

Christian P. Sorace

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how the Chinese Communist Party engineered “glory” in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake by mobilizing the discourse of “Party spirit” (dangxing). In addition to being responsible for state administration and economic growth, the cadre is also an embodiment and conduit of Party legitimacy. Antithetical to Max Weber's definition of institutions as that which remove embodiment from governance, in China, cadres are Party legitimacy made flesh. As flesh, they must be prepared to suffer. This chapter argues that the Party revitalizes its legitimacy by showing benevolence and glory, which depend on the willingness of cadres to suffer and sacrifice themselves on behalf of the people. In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake, these norms and expectations were implemented in concrete policy directives and work pressures.

Keywords:   cadres, Chinese Communist Party, glory, Sichuan earthquake, Party spirit, legitimacy, Max Weber, benevolence, governance

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