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Dreaming as a critical discourse of national belonging: China Dream, American Dream and world dream

Callahan, William A. ORCID: 0000-0001-6103-0586 (2017) Dreaming as a critical discourse of national belonging: China Dream, American Dream and world dream. Nations and Nationalism, 23 (2). pp. 248-270. ISSN 1354-5078

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Identification Number: 10.1111/nana.12296


This article explores the normative politics of national belonging through an analysis of the ‘China Dream’ and the ‘American Dream’. It traces how politicians and public intellectuals employ such slogans to highlight how national dreams emerge in times of crisis and involve a combination of aspirations and anxieties. It compares parallel rhetorical strategies – ‘patriotic worrying’ in China and the American Jeremiad in the US – to examine how belonging to these two nations involves a nostalgic longing for the past as a model for the future. Debates about the meaning of these national dreams highlight the tension between freedom and equality in the US, between the individual and the collective in China, and between longing for the true nation, and belonging in the actual nation for both countries. It concludes that while this quest for redemption through past models limits opportunities for critical discourse in China, the American Dream still contains much ‘promise’. The China Dream and the American Dream thus are, at the same time, 1) familiar expressions of nationalism and national belonging, and 2) ongoing self/Other coherence-producing performances that help us to question received notions of nationalism and national belonging.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2017 The Author. Nations and Nationalism © ASEN/John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2017 08:19
Last Modified: 29 May 2024 18:36

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