New book announcement: Neil J.Diamant, Useful Bullshit: Constitutions in Chinese Politics and Society (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2021)

Neil Diamant's picture

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased (and, to be honest, quite relieved) to announce the publication of my new book, Useful Bullshit: Constitutions in Chinese Politics and Society (https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501761270/useful-bullshit/#bookTabs=1). Using a wide variety of archival sources and drawing from methodologies in political science, philosophy, and literary criticism, the book uses discussions surrounding draft constitutions (mainly 1954, but also late Mao and 1982) as an entree to understand what citizens and officials thought about the legitimacy of the revolution and the CCP, as well as their views on the relationship between politics and law more generally. It also tries to solve the longstanding puzzle of why the CCP even has a constitution when it routinely violates many of its key articles. 

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Constitutions, Legitimacy, and Interpreting Popular Commentary

1. Officials Read the Draft Constitution

2. The Draft Constitution in China's Business Community

3. Popular Constitutionalism

4. Reading about Rights and Obligations

5. Christians, Buddhists, and Ethnic Minorities

6. Constitutional Afterlives

Conclusion: The Meanings of the Constitution and Comparative Perspectives