Dissertation Defence: Gladys Chong
China Rejuvenated?: Governmentality, Subjectivity, and Normativity. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. (Supervisors: Stefan Landsberger & Jeroen de Kloet) Agnietenkapel, 7 September 12:00 hrs
This study of the Beijing Olympics moves beyond the narrowly construed idea of coercive or oppressive power to look at the broader ruling strategies that shape the behavior of individuals. The multifaceted strategies, tactics, and discourses deployed by the Chinese authorities sustain an order of things and values in such a way that drive individuals to commit themselves actively to the goals of the party-state. This dissertation sets out to examine how this process of subjectification is achieved. In other words, I examine the processes under which individuals become self-directed subjects of their own and whereby they internalize state-defined norms/ideals in their belief to embrace the nation’s dream. In such processes of subjectification, the media plays a key role, as a number of studies have highlighted the instrumentality of the media for the party-state as well as the centrality of new and old media to the Chinese population. In addition, through engaging with Foucaultian concepts and analyses, I also seek to reflect upon the questions of what China means for Foucault, what Foucault means for China, and what this interrogation adds to knowledge-production in China studies. In this research, I combine various qualitative research methods with theoretical insights. The five case studies were informed by theorists ranging from Walter Benjamin and Judith Butler to Michel Foucault and Ackbar Abbas. Meanwhile, my analysis is drawn upon ample empirical data I collected during my extensive fieldwork.