Professor Michael Dutton

Michael’s work circles his principal intellectual interest, social theory, and his principal geographic archive, China.

Staff details

Professor Michael Dutton


Professor of Politics


Politics and International Relations


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Holding a joint professorship with the Faculty of Literature at Beijing Capital Normal University Dutton's work circles around his principle of intellectual interest (social theory) and his principle geographic archive, China. Increasingly the distinction between archive and interest, however, has become blurred.

His earliest major work, Policing and Punishment in China (Cambridge UP 1992), explored the way various Chinese governments disciplined the subject, while his second major work, Streetlife China (1998 Cambridge UP) looked at the popular responses to governmental disciplining. His third book, Policing Chinese Politics (Duke UP 2005) —for which he won the 2007  Levenson Award for the best book on modern China from American Asian Studies Association— explored the underlying dynamic propelling the Maoist revolution while his last book, Beijing Time (Harvard UP), co-authored with former students, revealed another sometimes hidden side to life in the Chinese capital. In his forthcoming book, Dutton explores the concept of the political but once again he does so in a way that highlights certain characteristics that Chinese history helps reveal. Arguing for art rather than a science of the political, Dutton’s work offers a more liquid and affective understanding of the political. 

Areas of supervision

China, postcolonial and postmodern theory, everydayness and the metropolis.
Chinese policing and punishment.

Publications and research outputs


Dutton, Michael; Lo, Hsiu-ju Stacy and Wu, Dong Dong. 2010. Beijing Time. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674047341

Dutton, Michael. 2009. 《中国的规制与惩罚:从夫权本位到人民本位》, 清华大学出版社, 北京。 Policing and Punishment in China; from Patriarchy to ‘The People’. 清华大学出版社 Qinghua University Press.

Dutton, Michael. 2005. Policing Chinese Politics: A History. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ISBN 0822334771

Book Section

Dutton, Michael. 2018. Preface: The Postcolonial and Political in Wang Min’an, in Wang Min’an. In: , ed. Domestic Spaces in Post-Mao China: On Electronic Household Appliances. Oxon: Routledge. ISBN 9780415784856

Dutton, Michael and Hindess, Barry. 2016. Governmentality Studies and China: Toward a ‘Chinese’ Governmentality. In: David Bray and Elaine Jeffreys, eds. New Mentalities of Government in China. London: Routledge, pp. 16-29. ISBN 978-1138917750

Dutton, Michael. 2011. Das Regiment der Gewalt: Polizieren des Politischen in der Volksrepublik China The government of violence: Policing the Chinese political; a short history. In: Alf Leudke; Herbert Reinke and Michael Sturm, eds. Polizei, Gewalt und Staat im 20. Jahrhundert. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, pp. 105-130. ISBN 978-3-531-18266-7


Dutton, Michael. 2017. The gift of the political. Social Identities, 23(6), pp. 730-740. ISSN 1350-4630

Dutton, Michael. 2017. Spaces of the political. Architectural Research Quarterly, 21(3), pp. 265-276. ISSN 1359-1355

Dutton, Michael. 2016. Cultural Revolution as Method. The China Quarterly, 227, pp. 718-733. ISSN 0305-7410


Dutton, Michael; Martin, David and Driver, Adam. 2009. Political Passion Affective Communities in China and the West.