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Vukovich, Daniel F. 2019. Illiberal China: The Ideological Challenge of the People’s Republic of China.


This book analyzes the ‘intellectual political culture’ of post-Tiananmen China in comparison to and in conflict with liberalism inside and outside the P.R.C. How do mainland politics and discourses challenge ‘our’ own, chiefly liberal and anti-‘statist’ political frameworks? To what extent is China paradoxically intertwined with a liberal economism?  How can one understand its general refusal of liberalism, as well as its frequent, direct responses to electoral democracy, universalism, Western media, and other normative forces? Vukovich argues that the Party-state poses a challenge to our understandings of politics, globalization, and even progress. To be illiberal is not necessarily to be reactionary and vulgar but, more interestingly, to be anti-liberal and to seek alternatives to a degraded liberalism. In this way Chinese politics illuminate the global conjuncture, and may have lessons in otherwise bleak times.

Table of Contents

  1. On Illiberalism & Seeing Like An Other State
  2. The New Left & the Old Politics of Knowledge: Battling for Chinese Political Discourse
  3. From Making Revolution to Making Charters: Liberalism and Economism in the Late Cold War
  4. No Country, No System: Liberalism, Autonomy, and Depoliticization in Hong Kong
  5. Wukan!: Democracy, Illiberalism and their Vicissitudes
  6. The Ills of Liberalism: Thinking Through the P.R.C & the Political

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.