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Regaining Honour and Regaining Legitimacy: Shame, Obedience and Risk Practices Amongst Chinese Communist Officials


As part of its anti-corruption campaigns in China, the Communist Party of China (CCP) provides officials opportunities to redeem themselves and renew their vows of loyalty to the Party and the people they serve. Officials must regain honour through a process of self-confrontation and self-renunciation in compulsory meetings in which they are encouraged to transform their immoral thoughts and behaviours through confessional criticism and self-criticism practices. These meetings facilitate officials’ redemption through a divinized, ritualistic and theatrical process. In the process of confession and penance, officials must expose themselves to a type of ritual martyrdom, which combines elements of shame, a commitment to absolute obedience and exposure to risk. This paper is based on original fieldwork comprising 50 interviews with high-, mid- and low-level officials across China during 2014 and 2015.

Acceptance Date Sep 17, 2018
Publication Date Oct 16, 2018
Journal Economy and Society
Print ISSN 0308-5147
Publisher Routledge
Keywords redemption, honour, Communist Party of China, ethics, legitimacy, anti-corruption
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