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Disgraceful MattersThe Politics of Chastity in Eighteenth-Century China$
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Janet Theiss

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520240339

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520240339.001.0001

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Statecraft and Gender Order in the Qianlong Reign

Statecraft and Gender Order in the Qianlong Reign

(p.39) Chapter 2 Statecraft and Gender Order in the Qianlong Reign
Disgraceful Matters

Janet M. Theiss

University of California Press

The state chastity cult constructed by Yongzheng was only one of many statecraft incarnations of the empire's civilizing ambitions. Its full political and cultural significance comes into focus when one looks at the web of state technologies developed in the latter half of the century to mold society and transform customs. The intertwined agendas of moral transformation (jiaohua) and state building shaped much of the social policy making of the Yongzheng and Qianlong years, indicating that commitment to the Qing vision of the thoroughness, precision, and intimacy of the state's loving support for its subjects was widely shared by Han and Manchu officials alike. Emperors and policy-making officials expounded their views of how to routinize the civilizing mission in bureaucratic practice. These wide-ranging discussions produced new laws and policies to intervene in diverse realms of social life and promote chastity, frugality, and respect for social hierarchy throughout the empire.

Keywords:   Yongzheng, state technologies, moral transformation, state building, chastity cult

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