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What Did Su Che See in the North? Publishing Regulations, State Security, and Political Culture in Song China

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This article investigates two kinds of publishing regulations issued during the Song Dynasty, those governing cross-border smuggling of written texts and those on texts relating to border affairs. It argues that the Song court's and Song officials' anxiety about the smuggling of state documents into the surrounding empires was foremost an expression of their concern over the circulation of state documents among literate elites inside Song territory. The analysis of cross-border smuggling focuses on alleged smuggling "to the north," i.e., to the empires bordering on the Song Empire's northern frontier. In order to substantiate the systematic connections made among Song publishing regulations, official and elite constructions of "the north" and elite political culture, the author contrasts prohibitions on the cross-border smuggling of texts to those governing other goods and compares publishing regulations in The Tang Code and The Classified Laws of the Qingyuan Period of ca. 1202. Cette étude s'intéresse à deux sortes de règlements sur les publications promulgués par les Song: ceux qui régissaient la contrebande transfrontalière des textes écrits et ceux qui concernaient les textes relatifs aux affaires frontalières. L'argument développé est que l'inquiétude de la cour et des fonctionnaires des Song relativement à la contrebande des documents d'État au profit des empires voisins reflétait avant tout leurs craintes concernant la circulation des documents gouvernementaux au sein des élites lettrées sur le territoire même des Song. L'analyse de la contrebande transfrontalière se concentre sur la prétendue contrebande vers "le Nord", autrement dit les empires jouxtant les Song sur leur frontière nord. L'auteur justifie les rapports qu'elle établit systématiquement entre les règlements Song sur les publications, la construction de la notion de "Nord" au sein de la bureaucratie et de l'élite lettrée, et la culture politique de l'élite, en comparant les prohibitions relatives à la contrebande transfrontalière des textes et celles concernant d'autres produits, et compare les règlements sur les publication dans le Code des Tang et dans la Législation classifiée de l'ère Qingyuan (vers 1202).


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