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Title: Local Activism and State-Society Relationship in Northwest China: The Case of Jingyang County, Shaanxi, in the Late Imperial Period
Keywords: Local Activism, State-Society Relationship, Shaanxi, Jingyang County, Northwest China,Late Imperial China
Issue Date: 20-Jan-2010
Citation: LEE CHERN SIN BENEDICT (2010-01-20). Local Activism and State-Society Relationship in Northwest China: The Case of Jingyang County, Shaanxi, in the Late Imperial Period. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This is a study on Jingyang County, located in the central region of the Shaanxi Province, in northwest China. Specifically, this study deals with the state-society relations in this locality in the late imperial period. The main aim of this thesis is to demonstrate the fluidity of state-society relationships, and highlight the significance of investigating the transition of state-society relations over shorter historical periods. To achieve this aim, this thesis will be divided into four chapters to trace the changes of state-society relations in Jingyang across four different historical periods in the Ming and the Qing dynasty. The first chapter deals with the ?localist turn? that took place in the Ming dynasty, roughly from the 1480s to the end of the dynasty. In this period, there was a graduate shift in balance of power away from the state, giving rise to an expansion of the sphere in which the local elites could operate in. However, despite being given more freedom in public scenes, the Jingyang elites were never given unrestricted access to handle all the local projects in the county. They were required to work closely with the state representatives assigned to the county in order to accomplished most of the projects. The second chapter deals with the early Qing period, where there was an apparent decrease in the intensity of elite?s activism. The change in ruling house was accompanied by revitalized vigor among their representatives, as most of the public projects in this period were accomplished by the local officials. The loss of financial ability due to the poor economic climate had also contributed to the regression of local activism. The third chapter deals with the Qianlong period, where a resurgence of local elite activism in the county took place as the economic situation of the region improved. However, with the state and its local representatives still very much active and in control, a new type of relationship between the state representatives and the local men were formed. Although local men were given more opportunities to contribute in the local scenes, the newly formed cooperative relationship was simply one which functioned to enable local officials to tap into the local resources available. The last chapter reviews the ?localist turn? that took place from the 18th century to the end of the Qing dynasty. As the state power of the Qing empire began to decline, a growing number of local projects being taken over by the increasingly active local elites. On the other hand, the local officials did not retreat entirely from the local scene, and were equally as active as local men in the participation of local projects. However, due to their lack of financial ability, the actual roles that they played in these projects had reduced into a mainly nominal one.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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