Title

Does China's recent 'harmonious society' discourse reflect a shift towards human development?

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

6-2012

Abstract

This paper analyses whether the Chinese state's recent efforts since 2003 to build a 'harmonious society' (HS; hexie shehui) represents an ideological shift towards global human development (HD) norms promoted by the United Nations. At first glance, the one-party authoritarian state of China seems worlds apart from the more inclusive HD approach. However, China's increasing emphasis on rebuilding health insurance, expanding compulsory education and reducing inter-regional inequalities somewhat resembles HD. To clarify these ambiguities, the study analyses recent PRC social development reports and scholarly debates to understand the HS ideology. The paper concludes with a critical assessment of HS discourse and a clarification of six key dimensions on which the HS appears to differ from the HD approach to development. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.

Discipline

Political Science | Politics and Social Change | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

Research Areas

Political Science

Publication

Journal of Political Ideologies

Volume

17

Issue

2

First Page

169

Last Page

187

ISSN

1469-9613

Identifier

10.1080/13569317.2012.676859

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569317.2012.676859

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