Provincialism in Late Qing Nationalism ———— Hunan and Canton in the Eyes of the New Intellectuals
|關鍵字:||晚清中國;民族主義;省籍意識;知識分子;政治大眾化;廣東;湖南;Late Qing China;nationalism;provincialism;intellectuals;mass politics;Canton;Hunan||公開日期:||2011||摘要:||民族主義係為中國現代化的主要動力，然晚清崛起的知識分子，雖顯示出強烈的省籍認同，但其民族想像最終似乎以過去帝國的政治空間為框架，致多元文化及多元族群共同體的清帝國，未如奧匈帝國四分五裂，反而維持其政治文化及空間上的統一，且始終係為各派主張的核心意涵。過去研究經常以原型民族主義解釋中國內部的凝聚性，但此說法與民族主義的現代理論不符，而進入一種保守典範，即藉由現代民族國家的現實詮釋過去的政治文化共同體；此作法之下，菁英的認同觀亦逐漸擴及一般庶民。同樣的，省籍意識經常被視為較為自然、重於情感的地方認同，實則省如同國家，對之的認同應首先產生於菁英階層，而非是一般庶民之間。
Despite its multicultural and pluralistic ethnic makeup, the Qing Empire was swiftly transformed into Modern China. While this process was far from being harmonious, the status of China as the “nation” was rarely challenged. The last fifteen years of the Qing dynasty saw the emergence of Chinese nationalism, yet especially during the first half such patriotic fervor was intertwined with strong provincial sentiments, a phenomenon scholars have often regarded as an expression of intensifying localism. This paper argues that the provincialism expressed in the writings of Liang Qichao, Ou Jujia and Yang Yulin, while being rooted in provincial elitist culture, should not be understood as popular localism. Instead, provincialism and nationalism were mainly constructs created by a (new) provincial and/or national elite, which, while being versed in official high culture, was mostly excluded from official politics. Both nationalism and provincialism, as well as the discourse on rights, education, liberty and equality not just represented idealistic demands, but were at least partially mobilized by this elite in order to penetrate the official realm of politics; this process serves as the starting point of mass politics. Liang is here understood as the archetypical new intellectual, whose immense and ambiguous output is not merely a re-imagination of the nation, but also betrays a constant concern for his own career; underneath his mercurial idealism one finds a subconscious pragmatism. Hunan and Canton figure prominently in the writings of the new intellectuals, and while Liang mainly assert their functionality in regard to national restoration, Ou’s New Canton and Yang’s New Hunan each affirm the province’s inherent value by likening it to the quasi-independent states of the Zhou period, namely the “Zhu Xia”. However, while such a Zhu Xia-paradigm is allegorically strong, each pamphlet is essentially concerned with garnering support from a certain audience: Where Liang attempts to secure backing from either gentry or officials, Ou’s treatise is mainly directed at wealthy Chinese merchants and secret society leaders of San Francisco’s Zhigong Tang organization. Yang on the other hand focuses almost exclusively on agitating Hunanese students in Japan into joining the revolutionary cause. Such provincialism was eagerly adapted by young intellectuals from other provinces, yet it never emerged as a truly independent nationalist movement, as provincial glorifications were not only coated in traditional Tianxia imagery, but also derived their legitimacy from the symbolic authority of the Chinese ecumene. The brevity of each provincialism furthermore betrays its subordination to Chinese nationalism, as well as revealing the (subconscious) pragmatism of the new intellectuals. It is finally argued that the longevity of the Chinese state and its symbolic authority over nationalism is due to the latter originating from a “national” elite, which in its attempts to carve out its role on the political stage initiates the popularization of politics; due to their participation in Chinese high culture, as well as their focus being set on political participation, the emerging nationalism is one of “China”, and not of “Canton” or “Hunan”.
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