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Governing through ‘the family’ in China: Cultivating ethical political subjects through officials’ ‘nearest and dearest’

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In this article we argue that the families of Communist Party members are increasingly being seen as both part of the problem and part of the solution to eradicating corruption in contemporary China. Our findings reveal how families are being investigated as well as co-opted by the party as a mechanism for encouraging its members to become ethical communist subjects. The current anti-corruption campaign in China is the context that has enabled this indirect governance of communist officials through the co-option of their ‘nearest and dearest’ in the party’s power structures. We argue that ‘the family’ in China is a privileged site for the remoralisation of society and the party through the process of facilitating what we call the ‘ethical subjectivities’ of officials. The contribution we make in this article is to analyse the continuum between the formal agencies of socialisation within the communist system and the informal but equally important institution of socialisation, namely, Communist Party members’ families.
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Keywords: Chinese Communist Party (CCP); anti-corruption; ethics; family; officials; resocialisation

Affiliations: 1: Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai, China 2: University of Southampton, UK

Appeared or available online: July 3, 2018

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