Social organization and the technology of communication: A case study of the association between character transformation and bureaucratic expansion in ancient China
AuthorAoyagi, Hiroshi, 1963-
AdvisorHill, Jane H.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractHistorians have commonly associated the standardization and simplification of Ch'in characters with bureaucratic expansion. The Ch'in empire's need for communicative efficiency has motivated character transformation from more pictographic, symbolic figures to more abstract, logographic patterns. This hypothesis is evaluated through (1) a critical analysis of bureaucracy and its impact on communication, and (2) a detailed examination of the formal properties of Ch'in characters and their effects on perception. The present thesis performs these tasks by taking a three-fold approach. First, I discuss the merits and demerits of bureaucracy with respect to its functions. Then, I elaborate upon aestheticism and writing materials as possible alternatives to communication for character transformation. Finally, I examine formal properties of Ch'in characters with regard to their communicative efficiencies.
Degree ProgramGraduate College