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Alternative futures of China: a six pillars analysis

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posted on 2022-03-28, 01:27 authored by Jeanne Hoffman
In recent decades China has transformed itself from being a poor war-torn country with a centrally planned economy to the second largest economy in the world, and, as a result, has created thought-provoking implications for its future economic, institutional, political, andsocial direction. A diversity of beliefs and opinions exists about China's futures, often developed through economic or international relations theories. This thesis challenges the idea that the direction, and knowledge, of the futures of countries, in this case China, are owned by politicians, policy makers, international relations theorists or media pundits alone, and posits instead that these directions and knowledge stem from the actions of individuals whose visions of the future have the ability to shape new alternative social orders. Through the application of six pillars analysis, this thesis will argue that there is no one future for China, but that there are many possible, probable and desired futures, each underlain with competing worldviews and myths. The six pillars used to explore the future are mapping,anticipating, timing, deepening, creating alternatives and transforming. Mapping asks,"Where have we been?", "Where are we today?", and "Where are we going?" Anticipating focuses on emerging issues and trend analysis to look for seeds of change. Timing is the study of grand patterns of civilisational change to understand various stages of history and their impact on the shape of the future. Deepening allows us to unpack unquestioned futures,usually through the next pillar, creating alternatives. Finally, on the basis of the alternative scenarios developed, transforming involves visioning the futures that individuals desire andfinding strategies to achieve them. This thesis intends to show the value of applying futures thinking, theories and methodologies to better understand and deconstruct the varied perspectives of the current world system. In this way this research aims to deepen and widen discussion on the futures of China.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. China's search for the future : a genealogical approach -- Chapter 3. Alternative futures of China : a macrohistorical approach -- Chapter 4. Unpacking images of China using causal layered analysis -- Chapter 5. Alternative images of China in 2035 : a case study of Tamkang University workshops -- Chapter 6. Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. "Macquarie University, Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, Tamkang University" -- title page. Includes bibliographical references

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism

Department, Centre or School

Department of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Dalbir Ahlawat

Additional Supervisor 1

Sohail Inayatullah


Copyright Jeanne Hoffman 2015. Copyright disclaimer:






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