Today's world is one marked by the signs of digital capitalism and global capitalist expansion, and China is increasingly being integrated into this global system of production and consumption. As a result, China's immediate material impact is now felt almost everywhere in the world; however, the significance and process of this integration is far from understood. This study shows how the a priori categories of statistical reasoning came to be re-born and re-lived in the People's Republic - as essential conditions for the possibility of a new mode of knowledge and governance. From the ruins of the Maoist revolution China has risen through a mode of quantitative self-objectification. As the author argues, an epistemological rift has separated the Maoist years from the present age of the People's Republic, which appears on the global stage as a mirage. This study is an ethnographic investigation of concepts - of the conceptual forces that have produced and been produced by - two forms of knowledge, life, and governance. As the author shows, the world of China, contrary to the common view, is not the Chinese world; it is a symptomatic moment of our world at the present time.
Xin Liu is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley and Fellow of the Sociology Division, the E-Institutes of Shanghai Universities. He is the author of In One's Own Shadow (University of California Press, 2000) and The Otherness of Self (University of Michigan Press, 2002); and editor of New Reflections on Anthropological Studies of (greater) China (IEAS, UC Berkeley, 2004).
Acknowledgements Preface Chapter 1. Making up numbers PART I: MORAL MATHEMATICS Chapter 2. The mentality of governance The weight of numbers The obesity of statistical yearbooks The law for statistical work Chapter 3. The facticity of social facts A new life of facts Socialism and statistics Let facts speak for themselves PART II: STATISTICS, METAPHYSICS, AND ETHICS Chapter 4. Discipline and punish Professor Dai and his statistical revolution The colonization of social sciences PART III: REASON AND REVOLUTION Chapter 5. The taming of chance Change and chance Land and luck Fortune and fate Chapter 6. Interiorization Stories and memories (genealogy of history I) Temporality and subjectivity (genealogy of history II) Class and classification (genealogy of history III) Chapter 7. Exteriorization Epistemology I: Anti-humanism and narcissism Epistemology II: Objectivity and corporeality Epistemology III: Mass and massification Bibliography Index