By Tong Lam
During this path-breaking publication, Tong Lam examines the emergence of the "culture of truth" in glossy China, exhibiting how elites and intellectuals sought to remodel the dynastic empire right into a geographical region, thereby making sure its survival. Lam argues that an epistemological become independent from from conventional modes of realizing the observable global begun round the flip of the 20 th century. Tracing the Neo-Confucian tuition of evidentiary learn and the fashionable departure from it, Lam indicates how, in the course of the upward push of the social survey, "the truth" grew to become a simple conceptual medium and resource of fact. In concentrating on China's social survey stream, a keenness for proof analyzes how info generated via a variety of study practices--census, sociological research, and ethnography--was mobilized via competing political factions to visualize, deal with, and remake the state.
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Extra resources for A Passion for Facts: Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation-State, 1900-1949 (Asia Pacific Modern)
Statistics in the age of revolution and empire In spite of the continuous interest in the question of state strength among British statisticians in the early nineteenth century, the imperatives of industrialization and urbanization had increasingly compelled European thinkers to move away from the old paradigm of political arithmetic. These hidden trends, which could become legible only through the collection and analysis of social facts, must therefore be respected. Under this new conceptual premise, governing entailed the calculation and management of the inevitable risks and contingencies that would arise from the social field.
22 For the most part, however, the development of survey-based social science was due to American influences. Since the turn of the twentieth century, driven by a sense of evangelical responsibility and the goal of American economic expansion, American policy thinkers and social scientists found themselves increasingly engrossed by the so-called “China problem,” believing that any modification of the social life and structure of this immense country by means of social science would help to make the world safer for the American vision of industrial capitalism.
Evidential practices in early modern china and europe For those who are familiar with imperial Chinese history, Euro-American assertions that the Chinese possessed little empirical knowledge about themselves and their empire certainly sound preposterous. With a long tradition of centralized bureaucracy, successive Chinese dynastic regimes had produced an enormous amount of empirical knowledge about different aspects of the empire. While such cultural and political stocktaking was often compiled in the form of local gazetteers and travel writings by scholar-officials who needed to demonstrate their scholarship and officialdom, the imperial authorities also Lam, A Passion for Facts 22 / 8/18/11 12:58 PM Page 22 The Rise of the Fact were directly involved in censuses and territorial surveys for purposes of statecraft.