Confucian Tradition, Modernization, and Globalization

in Journal of Chinese Humanities
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Drawing on important theories on tradition and modernization that developed in the past few decades, this article is intended to argue against two extreme views concerning tradition and modernity, one propagating that modernization intrinsically precludes tradition and the other claiming that, to uphold tradition, we must reject modernity. Applying the “circular model” of tradition and modernity and the paradigm of “long tradition,” we contend that tradition and modernity comprise and supplement each other and that, together, they form a continuum in the process of modernization, in contrast to the widespread view that modernization breaks away from tradition. We further examine critically various proposals on the usefulness of tradition for modern life and on the value of Confucian ethics for modernization in China. By arguing that tradition must not be separated from modernity and must be seen as part of modernization, this article concludes that only by including tradition will modernization be sustainable and that Confucian ethics can play an important role in reshaping the moral landscape of China in the rapidly modernized and globalized age.

Confucian Tradition, Modernization, and Globalization

in Journal of Chinese Humanities

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References

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2

Edward Shils“Tradition,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 13 no. 2 (1971): 124.

3

Ronald Inglehart and Wayne E. Baker“Modernization, Cultural Change, and the Persistence of Traditional Values,” American Sociological Review 65 no. 1 (2000).

4

Shils“Tradition” 122.

6

Shils“Tradition” 144.

8

Gilbert Rozman and Thomas P. BernsteinThe Modernization of China (New York: Free Press1981) 3.

10

Chris BarkerCultural Studies: Theory and Practice (London: Sage2005) 444.

11

Rana MitterModern China: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press2008) 12.

12

Antony GiddensConversations with Anthony Giddens: Making Sense of Modernity (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press1998) 94.

13

Inglehart and Baker“Modernization” 21.

14

Gross“Rethinking Tradition” 83.

17

Gary G. Hamilton“Civilizations and Organization of Economies,” in The Handbook of Economic Sociologyed. N.J. Smelser and R. Swedberg (Princeton: Princeton University Press1994) 184.

18

Xinzhong YaoAn Introduction to Confucianism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press2000) 246-249.

19

MitterModern China12.

20

Guy Olivier Faure“Chinese Society and Its New Emerging Culture,” Journal of Contemporary China 56 no. 17 (2008).

21

Yunxiang Yan“The Changing Moral Landscape,” in Deep China: The Moral Life of the Person What Anthropology and Psychiatry Tell Us About China Today ed. Yunxiang Yan and Arthur Kleinman (Berkeley: University of California Press 2011).

22

W.C.R. Chu and C.T. Cheng“Cultural Convulsions: Examining the Chineseness of Cyber China,” in Online Society in China: Creating Celebrating and Instrumentalising the Online Carnivaled. David Herold (London: Taylor & Francis 2011).

24

Børge BakkenThe Exemplary Society: Human Improvement Social Control and the Dangers of Modernity in China (Oxford: Clarendon Press2000) 1.

25

Ibid.4-5.

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