A Foucauldian Interpretation of A Chinese Officialdom Novel: The Chinese Style Secretary 2

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In China today, everything is closely related to the official circle, whether one is doing
business or seeking escalation in the career trajectory, and whether one is a local or a foreigner.
The current Chinese officialdom is knitted tightly within a network of connections that acts as a
frontier and battlefield involving a variety of power relationships and struggles. Using Foucauldian
theory, which gives the power discourse a micro-revamp and a political reconfiguration, and coins
the concepts of “the microphysics of power” and “the political technology of body,” this paper
presents an in-depth textual analysis of a popular Chinese officialdom novel—The Chinese Style
Secretary 2 《 中 国 式 秘 书 2 》 (2010). The aim of the analysis was to detect the operation
and machination of power on a microphysical level within the official circle of contemporary
China. In doing so, an alternative discourse of power coined by Foucault and its dynamism and
reflections in the Chinese officialdom emerged. This alternative power discourse functioning at
the microphysical level within the Chinese official circle provides a rationale for the rampant
corruption with its twisted roots and intricate gnarls that has resulted from the operation of the
Foucauldian productive and multifarious power discourse and relations. In other words, by
applying Foucauldian power theory to the Chinese officialdom that is described in a popular
literary text, this paper clarifies the generating mechanism and operative principle of the deeprooted unspoken rules and corrupt phenomena in the sociopolitical milieu of contemporary China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-36
Number of pages14
JournalQuarterly Journal of Chinese Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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