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The Corporeal Politics of Quality (Suzhi)

The Corporeal Politics of Quality (Suzhi) he phantom-like nature of value—what could be a more compelling topic in the wake of the bursting of the 1990s economic bubble, when the value of the new economy seemed suddenly to dissipate overnight? Where did value go? And how can it be that, in the midst of a global restructuring of capitalism, certain things that formerly seemed to have so much value are now deemed to be what society (or something called that) can no longer afford? The topic of value is particularly compelling in light of the momentous social transformations taking place in China during the last quarter of the twentieth century. In the movement from a planned to a market economy, the representation of value has undergone a reorganization in the realm of the biopolitical in which human life becomes a new frontier for capital accumulation. This changing relaI am greatly indebted to Nayna Jhaveri, Priti Ramamurthy, and Yan Hairong for ongoing conversations about questions of value and social responsibility. Earlier versions of this essay were presented at the AAS annual meeting in March 2001; the Fairbank Center at Harvard University; the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley; and the Department of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Public Culture Duke University Press

The Corporeal Politics of Quality (Suzhi)

Public Culture , Volume 16 (2) – Apr 1, 2004

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2004 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0899-2363
eISSN
1527-8018
DOI
10.1215/08992363-16-2-189
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

he phantom-like nature of value—what could be a more compelling topic in the wake of the bursting of the 1990s economic bubble, when the value of the new economy seemed suddenly to dissipate overnight? Where did value go? And how can it be that, in the midst of a global restructuring of capitalism, certain things that formerly seemed to have so much value are now deemed to be what society (or something called that) can no longer afford? The topic of value is particularly compelling in light of the momentous social transformations taking place in China during the last quarter of the twentieth century. In the movement from a planned to a market economy, the representation of value has undergone a reorganization in the realm of the biopolitical in which human life becomes a new frontier for capital accumulation. This changing relaI am greatly indebted to Nayna Jhaveri, Priti Ramamurthy, and Yan Hairong for ongoing conversations about questions of value and social responsibility. Earlier versions of this essay were presented at the AAS annual meeting in March 2001; the Fairbank Center at Harvard University; the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley; and the Department of

Journal

Public CultureDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2004

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