No CCP, No New China: Pastoral Power in Official Narratives in China

Xiaoling Zhang, Melissa Shani Brown, David O'Brien

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Guided by Michel Foucault's concept of pastoral power, this article examines the ways in which contemporary discourses within official narratives in China portray the state in a paternal fashion to reinforce its legitimacy. Employing interdisciplinary approaches, this article explores a number of sites in Urumqi, the regional capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), in order to map how a coherent official narrative of power and authority is created and reinforced across different spaces and texts. It demonstrates how both history and the present day are depicted in urban Xinjiang in order to portray the state in a pastoral role that legitimates its use of force, as well as emphasizing its core role in developing the region out of poverty and into civilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)784-803
Number of pages20
JournalChina Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • Foucault
  • Xinjiang
  • discipline
  • discourse
  • legitimacy
  • pastoral power
  • public space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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