Abstract: This article will attempt to explain the appropriation of "civilization" by China's post-Mao political lite, its persistence, and its evolution into a key reform-era ideological construct. It will do this first by charting the development of the spiritual and material civilization duality from a contested political tool deployed by Deng Xiaoping in the early years of opening and reform to an established ideological doctrine under Jiang Zemin. It will also introduce political civilization and social civilization as recent - and not originally intended - mutations in this evolution. Ultimately, it will argue that the arrival of these third and fourth civilizations confirmed that, although the curious evolution of CCP's civilization narrative was itself an unintended consequence of China's market reforms, the narrative has become an important genetic thread used by third- and fourth-generation technocrats to create an ideological lineage for their distinct political platforms, and in doing so to maintain - or be seen to be maintaining - the moral legitimacy of the Party.
To cite this article: Dynon, Nicholas. 'Four Civilizations' and the Evolution of Post-Mao Chinese Socialist Ideology [online]. China Journal, The, No. 60, July 2008: -109.
[cited 24 Jan 17].