Accountability in the context of civilization change in China




Journal Title

Journal ISSN



Volume Title


De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to the understanding of accountability in the context of civilization change in China. Using a Foucaultian epistemic framework and archaeological method, data has been gathered from four sources: textual, interviews, case studies and surveys. Each source has been considered in terms of the viability of the modern episteme and the possibility of episteme change to ecological civilization taking place in China. Also the actors in the sustainability accountability network have been identified along with the key contingencies that could lead to changes in accountability in China. Based on the data collected there is strong evidence that the existing industrial civilization in China is seen to be unsustainable. Also that there are particular contingencies in place in China that make episteme change both likely and perhaps already taking place. The key contingency in this research is the metaphysical continuum based on harmony ideas in ancient Chinese philosophy. As a result there are strong grounds for predicting that new forms of accountability will be based around groupings of organizations in provinces, geographical areas (river basins) and regions, feeding up to accountability for sustainability at national and supra-national levels. Practically this research has opened up the possibility of accountability in China that could seriously address sustainability issues rather than the typical Western approaches based on empty rhetoric to improve reputation and legitimacy. This research has operationalized Foucault’s ideas on episteme change empirically in China. As such it represents an original contribution to research on sustainability and accountability responses thereto.



Episteme, Ecological civilization, Accountability, Sustainability



Research Institute