Making the Political: Founding and Action in the Political by Leigh K. Jenco

By Leigh K. Jenco

Democratic political thought frequently sees collective motion because the foundation for non-coercive social switch, assuming that its phrases and practices are constantly self-evident and obtainable. yet what if we discover ourselves in events the place collective motion isn't instantly to be had, or maybe largely intelligible? This ebook examines some of the most intellectually substantive and influential chinese language thinkers of the early 20th century, Zhang Shizhao (1881-1973), who insisted that it truly is people who needs to 'make the political' earlier than social hobbies or self-aware political groups have materialized. Zhang attracts from British liberalism, democratic concept, and late-Imperial Confucianism to formulate new roles for potent person motion on own, social, and institutional registers. within the technique, he bargains a imaginative and prescient of neighborhood that turns now not on spontaneous consent or convergence on a shared target, yet on ongoing acts of exemplariness that inaugurate new, unpredictable contexts for potent own motion.

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Making the Political: Founding and Action in the Political Theory of Zhang Shizhao

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Huang formed the European Affairs Study Group (Oushi yanjiu hui) as a way of avoiding pledging loyalty to Sun; Zhang was the group’s secretary (Zhang, “Oushi yanjiu hui shi yi”; Bai, Zhang Shizhao zhuan, 86). Zhang, Zhongdeng guowen dian. 36 Making the Political In 1908, at the age of 27, Zhang traveled to Great Britain. 14 After enrolling in a master’s degree program at the University of Edinburgh, Zhang made extra money – and his reputation – as a foreign correspondent for the Beijing-based Imperial Daily (Diguo ribao) newspaper, reporting to Chinese audiences on European opinion leading up to the First World War.

Zhang Shizhao and his world 37 representative government for China, which at that time was primarily a preindustrial agricultural nation. 18 Liang called this movement “rural reconstruction” (xiangjian) but Zhang, perhaps building from earlier work, preferred to label it “rural selfrule” (nongcun zizhi) (ZQJ IV, 147–152). Zhang’s new reluctance to pursue parliamentary government for China at that time inspired Duan Qirui (1865–1936), a former warlord turned provisional chief executive of the Beiyang government, to ask Zhang to serve as his minister of education in 1924.

It is in fact precisely because individual actions comprise necessary everyday elements of an emergent, shared life that they play such formative roles, even if they can never decisively shape the community in one direction rather than another. By drawing attention to the incremental and everyday processes of polity-building in places of all kinds, Zhang alerts us to further locations for political action that the categories of public and private obscure, and to the activities they categorically constrain by deeming them too limited in effect.

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