Uniform TitleSuppressing rebels, managing bureaucrats: state-building during the Taiping Rebellion, 1850-1864
NameYeung, King-To (author), Martin, John (chair), Mische, Ann (internal member), McLean, Paul (internal member), Clarke, Lee (internal member), Ermakoff, Ivan (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Cities and towns,
China--History--Taiping Rebellion, 1850-1864
DescriptionThis study uses the historical case of the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64) to examine the process of state-building in an early modern empire. I focus on the interactions between volatile battles the Qing state launched against the Taipings and the changing social relationships among state actors embedded in preexisting rules and established organizational norms. In the early phase of the rebellion, 1851-1856, Peking tended to address the problem of controlling rebellion-ridden provinces by deploying state agents closely linked to the Manchu center. At the same time, negative sanctions, jurisdictional indifference, and interpersonal conflicts all surged among state agents. The rebels’ unpredictable actions, the sporadic sequencing of their battles, and their cross-jurisdictional mobility gave state actors numerous opportunities to act in ways that deviated from state interests. By the late 1850s, a new set of bureaucratic deployments emerged to address these problems. Colleague-officials had become more alike by dint of their ethnicities, provincial origins, and educational backgrounds. These changes in social ties and bureaucratic networks might have redrawn the parameters of the bureaucratic organization, creating a potential danger for central control. Applying the idea of “vacancy chains,᾿ I demonstrate that vacancies initiated in response to exigent demands in the battlefield could extensively impact the rest of the bureaucratic structure. The dynamics of vacancy chains brought together two distinct fields of social actions, linking rebellion suppression to the formation of the Qing bureaucratic field. By the 1870s, official careers appeared to be more stable than in the tumultuous 1850s, but the state bureaucracy as a whole had undergone—since the second half of the 1850s—a process of detachment. In the wake of the rebellion, provincial officials were more integrated into a provincial bureaucratic system that had been gradually made separate from the metropolitan bureaucracy. I ultimately provide a view of state-building as a continuous process whereby crisis and routine are intertwined, in which state rulers and their agents can at once build a “state᾿ together and take it apart.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 233-243).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.