The discourse of Xinmin
Mindset remodeling and nation-building in early twentieth-century China
Focusing on Liang Qichao’s campaign of national moral character reform, this article examines the discourse of xinmin (新民 new people) as a social engineering project that sought to remold the mindset and behaviors of the people a means of nation-building in the 1900s. Drawing on Koselleck’s idea of conceptual history, it analyses how the idea of qun (群) was deployed as a discursive building block of xinmin to cultivate a sense of membership in the political community of Chinese nation. It argues that the xinmin discourse facilitated a fundamental restructuring of the mental-cognitive framing of society in changing China from a Confucian cultural entity to a national political identity.
- The discourse of xinmin: People-making as nation-building
Qun as a discursive building block of xinmin
- Significance of xinmin discourse