While scholars studying cases elsewhere have sought explanations for successful or clumsy crisis management from various tangible aspects of politics, like policies and their distributional outcomes, different actors' stakes and strategies, etc., Christian Sorace's new book, Shaken Authority: China's Communist Party and the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, with rich empirical and historical details as well as illuminating analytical perspectives, directs readers to reflect on the ontological and aesthetic dimensions of China's political system, in which enormous energies are mobilized to support government discourse and image. Would Yingxiu's future be different?" (123) This is insightful, shedding light on the fundamental logic of the Chinese political system: even when "the hall of mirrors is smashed" (123), the Party will keep "performing a repertoire of legitimating narratives" (152) "through continuous transfusions, emergency interventions, diagnoses, and experimental treatments" (79-80). A book focusing on discourse and largely descriptive analysis can easily go shallow, but Sorace's work offers profound insights into how power works in China by grounding abstract Party discourse in concrete state practices.
|Number of pages||3|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2018|