ASIA2001 Culture, Society and the State in Asia

Credit
6 points
Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Non-standard teaching periodHong KongFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Asian Studies; CHNSI Chinese Studies; CHNSA Chinese Studies; INDNI Indonesian Studies; JPNSI Japanese Studies major sequences
  • Category A broadening unit for Bachelor of Arts students where relevant according to the broadening requirements for each student
  • Level 2 elective
Content
A central aim of this unit is to investigate how culture serves the political objectives of the state and how resistance to state power is also often derived from culture. Close interaction between the state and sociocultural life has been a fundamental feature of countries in the Asian region since the end of the colonial era and has been seen as crucial to nation building. In recent years most Asian nations have experienced extraordinarily rapid economic change, at times resulting in acute social tensions including huge disparities in income, aggravated rural–urban dichotomies, ethnic conflict, regional separatism, gender inequalities, environmental devastation, and the dislocation and relocation of huge numbers of people.

In the unit students explore the meanings of key concepts such as culture, political culture, society and the state. They explore the role culture plays in holding the societies of Asia together despite the tensions of modernisation and globalisation, and the extent to which culture is/can be guided (or controlled) by the state for this purpose. The unit also examines how state-sponsored cultural forms are resisted and subverted by various groups within society. Special attention is given to Southeast Asia, China and Japan and students are encouraged to explore specific issue(s) within the context of these regions. The unit allows students to explore a range of areas where state power in Asia and the idea of national cohesion via cultural manipulation impact directly on the diverse ethnic populations that make up society in much of Asia. Students are expected to problematise state cultural agendas and demonstrate an understanding of the way in which society resists, even in the face of the staunchest efforts of the state, to control culture.

The academic objectives of the unit are to develop an understanding of the complexities of sociocultural, political, economic transformations and interactions in postcolonial Asia through the lenses of culture/power/resistance. A further academic objective is to have students more fully understand and utilise various social and political theories and ideas related to the study of contemporary society in Asia.
Outcomes
Students are able to (1) recognise and critically analyse debates and discourses in contemporary Asia around the interactions between society, culture and political states; (2) evaluate societal transformations in contemporary Asia through understanding the complex relationship between culture, power and resistance in modern Asian societies; (3) explain and critique in ethically sensitive ways the important role of culture in holding the societies and nation states of the Asian region together as well as the ways in which culture is often a contested arena between state and societal interests in the modern globalised world; (4) demonstrate an ability to develop original arguments in oral and written forms that engage with the social and political theories and literature used to frame the unit themes around the interactions of society, culture and state; (5) demonstrate an intermediate level capacity to conduct discipline-relative research and to use appropriate academic conventions and source materials; and (6) develop and demonstrate greater cross-cultural awareness through an enhanced understanding of the relationship between the key unit themes of society, culture, state, power and resistance.
Assessment
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) short assignments; (2) essays; and (3) tutorial participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Stephen Dobbs
Unit rules
Prerequisites:
a Level 1 ASIA, JAPN, CHIN, KORE
or
INDO unit
Incompatibility:
ASIA2204 Culture, Society and the State in Asia
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per week
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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.