The Great Dragon Fantasy: A Lacanian Analysis of Contemporary Chinese Thought

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9789814417914: The Great Dragon Fantasy: A Lacanian Analysis of Contemporary Chinese Thought

China has undergone a unique path of development in the post-Maoist era. Especially, the last decade witnessed China's rapid rise to economic wealth and superpower status vis-a-vis the severe developmental predicaments of the West (financial crises, socio-political turbulences, etc.). This book analyzes how the leading Chinese thinkers understand China's prosperity and rapid development today, and whether there is any hidden mechanism that has been playing a crucial role of forming contemporary Chinese thinkers' shared passionate endeavor of resuscitating classical Chinese ideas, and thus shows how the fervor for discovering "essential characteristics" of Chinese thought reveals a hidden psychological mechanism.

Readership: Academics, professionals, Sinologists, advanced undergraduate and graduate students interested in China studies.

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About the Author:

Guanjun Wu is Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Politics at East China Normal University (ECNU), Shanghai, China. He also serves as Vice President of Department's Academic Board and Executive Editor-in-Chief of ECNU Review. He is the author of a number of books published in China, including The Eleventh Thesis (2014), The Philosophy of Living Together (2011), The Hauntology of Love and Death (2008), The Perverse Core of Reality (2006), and Multiple Modernities (2002).

Review:

"Guanjun Wu wrote an extraordinary book which brings together the Lacanian psychoanalytic tradition with the intimate knowledge of Chinese intellectual scene. The mixture is explosive, since it throws a new light not only on the Chinese situation but also on psychoanalytic theory, bringing out its force to uncover new dimensions as well as its limitations. In this book, East meets West in a way which profits and changes both. Guanjun Wu combines cold analytic dissection with passionate emancipatory engagement." -- Slavoj Zizek, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy, University of Ljubljana

"The Great Dragon Fantasy represents a fascinating and original application of Lacanian psychoanalytic precepts to the main currents of contemporary Chinese political thought: New Enlightenment, the New Left Wing (neo-Maoism), neo-Confucianism, and Chinese Nationalism. Throughout this study, Guanjun Wu displays a masterful grasp of Eastern and Western intellectual traditions — an understanding and breadth that is, to my knowledge, simply unmatched. With this book, Wu has established himself as a significant contributor to the central theoretical debates of the twenty-first century as well as an important intellectual mediator on both sides of the East-West divide. When all is said and done, The Great Dragon Fantasy takes important steps in rendering that divide less cavernous." -- Richard Wolin, Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

"What do Chinese intellectuals want? Breaking with conventional historical, political, and sociological presumptions, Guanjun Wu boldly employs Lacanian psychoanalysis to explore the fantasies structuring post-Maoist intellectual discourse. This is an essential book not only for those interested in psychoanalysis but for anyone concerned with the dynamic of freedom and fullness, trauma and greatness shaping debates in contemporary China." -- Jodi Dean, Donald R Harter, '39 Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at Hobart and William Smith, Colleges

"Guanjun Wu's work is an original and forceful analysis of the Chinese intellectual scene, and certainly one of the most controversial contributions to the field. Wu's combination of civilizational and psychoanalytical perspectives throws light on a background often neglected by Western observers, and reminds us that Chinese debates on the roads to modernity are not only about the construction of political and economic institutions. Those who prefer a different interpretation of China's encounter with itself and the West will have to come to grips with Wu's arguments. The book is essential reading for students of contemporary China and its ongoing transformation." -- Johann P Arnason, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, La Trobe University

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