Confucianism in Contemporary Chinese Politics

Confucianism in Contemporary Chinese Politics : An Actionable Account of Authoritarian Political Culture

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This book examines the ways in which Confucian political culture operates in contemporary Chinese politics and influences its development. The author argues that the authoritarian political culture performs functions similar to the democratic political culture, drawing on a wide range of data-surveys, interviews, archives, Public Hearing Meeting records, and the Party Congress Reports of the Chinese Communist Party-to substantiate and illustrate these arguments. In an authoritarian political system, the "legitimating values" of the authoritarian political culture persuade the public of their government's legitimacy and the "engaging values" equip individuals with a set of cultural dispositions, resources, and skills to acquire political resources and services from the state. In the context of Chinese politics, personal connections infused with affection and trust-the Social Capital in the Confucian culture-facilitate political engagement. Despite the country's continuous advocacy for the "rule of law," state and public perceptions of legal professionals and legal practices, such as mediation and lawyer-judge relations, are fundamentally moralized. A new "people ideology," which originated in the Confucian political culture, has been re-appropriated to legitimate the Party's hegemonic governing position and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 258 pages
  • 158 x 239 x 23mm | 788g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 5 tables, 21 graphs
  • 0739182390
  • 9780739182390

About Shanruo Ning Zhang

Shanruo Ning Zhang is associate professor in the Department of Political Science at California Polytechnic State more

Review quote

This is the most comprehensive and convincing study on the integration of traditional culture into Chinese politics. The author demonstrates her thorough understanding of Confucianism and solid training in Western social scientific methodology. It is a seamless weaving between the East and the West, between affection and rationality, and between formal and informal politics. -- Wenfang Tang, University of Iowa This stunning, lucid, and absorbing exposition of China's cultural politics is unrivaled. Brimming with brilliant insights, its multi-methodology blends history, political philosophy, psychology, and rigorous social scientific content and discourse analysis with interviews and deep research to demonstrate how Chinese notions of morality, reciprocity (guanxi), the place for law despite the prevalence of corruption, the legitimacy of the state and the modes citizens employ to connect with the state are all rooted in key principles of Confucian beliefs and practices. Unraveling the informal rules of the Chinese polity, and showing how they inform and shape the more formal institutions, the book's several arguments-exciting, erudite and compelling-will render it a landmark in its field. -- Dorothy J. Solinger, University of California, Irvine This well-researched and thought-provoking book takes a critical approach to existing frameworks on the Chinese political system. Through multifaceted methodology and extensive presentation of qualitative and quantitative data, the author shows how modern Chinese politics and policy have been shaped by its political culture and moral values and how ordinary Chinese people perceive their communities, society, and the state. The book is nicely written and richly documented. Citing many examples concerning legal practices and informal politics, it illustrates the ways in which Chinese people communicate and negotiate with their society and government. Students who desire to understand how Chinese politics works in everyday life will find the book insightful and pleasant to read. -- Xiaojian Zhao, University of California, Santa Barbara Zhang's book is a fascinating account of the theory and practice of Confucian politics in modernizing China. Zhang draws on extensive empirical material from different spheres of social life to persuasively demonstrate that China's future will involve a reinterpretation of its past. -- Daniel A. Bell, author of The China Modelshow more

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Confucian Political Culture in China Chapter 2: An Actionable Account of Authoritarian Political Culture Chapter 3: Morality and Law in Confucianism Chapter 4: Guanxi, Informal Politics, and Everyday Forms of Political Engagement Chapter 5: Moralizing the Rule of Law Chapter 6: The Gateway of Political Communication Chapter 7: The Silent Revolution in the Official Rhetoric of the CCP Chapter 8: Conclusionshow more