Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International Studies

Committee Director

Qiu Jin

Committee Member

Francis Adams

Committee Member

David Selover


This dissertation, with a standpoint of disentangling China's diplomacy "inside-out," explores the Chinese state-society relationship in domestic-foreign-policy interaction. With its analytic focus resting on the collective memory of national humiliation in modern Chinese history and the derived national identity, this project delves into the linkage between the ideational impetus of the diplomatic decision-making of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the way that the authoritarian regime claims its internal and external legitimacy.

In the state legitimation, collective memory and national identity are instrumentalized to enact the moral justification of the CCP's political authority and to justify China's persistent quest to regain a rightful place in the international arena. In the belief system of Chinese foreign policy ideas, these historical institutions shape the conception of the state interests and the goals of national foreign policy. The normative and purposive meanings and the affective dimension of these ideational factors have given ground to the ethical agenda of China's diplomacy. The CCP's policy calculation in its external legitimation can go against the moral standards by which domestic audience assesses its diplomatic performance. In the interrogation of the discrepancy between the state's foreign policy behavior and the CCP's role playing claimed for its memory-based legitimacy, the "scripts" of Chinese diplomatic drama derived from historical institutions have empowered the agency of the Chinese populace to contend with the authoritarian state.


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