The Ties that Bind: Party Social Identity and the Relevance of Ideology for the Chinese Communist PartyDoctoral thesis
Date of Examination:2022-06-28
Date of issue:2022-07-19
Advisor:Prof. Dr. Sarah Eaton
Referee:Prof. Dr. Sarah Eaton
Referee:Dr. Ling Li
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EnglishThis thesis seeks to answer the question why ideology still matters for the Chinese Communist Party in its relations with its own members and, importantly, what its purpose is. In other words, it wants to understand how ideology is supposed to shape the relations between the Party and its own members and cadres. Building on mostly qualitative textual research of both Party-internal documents as well as publicly available Party publications, the thesis relies on an innovative theoretical framework to answer its research questions. It builds on a political science approach to ideology and combines it with a theoretical approach to social identity and self-categorisation from social psychology. Based on these, the thesis argues that ideology still matters for the Party in relation with its members and cadres because the Party believes that there is a close link between good behaviour, organisational loyalty and ideology. Building on this, the main argument of the thesis is that, through ideological narratives, the Party seeks to create a social identity for its own members and cadres, the core of which is the Party itself. Equally through ideological narratives, it manipulates this social identity in order to make it meaningful for Party members. Importantly, the thesis argues that at the core of this social identity is the Party itself, rather than a particular political belief system.
Keywords: China; Chinese Communist Party; Ideology; Social Identity; CCP; self-categorisation; Xi Jinping