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Social Transformations in Chinese Societies

The Official Annual of the Hong Kong Sociological Association

Edited by Kwok-bun Chan and Tak-sing Cheung

Social Transformations in Chinese Societies is the official annual of The Hong Kong Sociological Association. It publishes articles of original research that addresses theoretical, methodological, or substantive issues of sociological significance about or related to social transformations in Chinese societies. The focus is mainly on Hong Kong, Taiwan, the mainland, Singapore, and Chinese overseas. Review essays of exceptionally high quality are also welcome. BRILL HAS CEASED TO PUBLISH THIS ANNUAL AFTER VOL. 5.
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Edited by Yanjie Bian, Kwok-bun Chan and Tak-sing Cheung

Social Transformations in Chinese Societies is the offi cial annual of The Hong Kong Sociological Association. It publishes articles of original research that addresses theoretical, methodological, or substantive issues of sociological significance about social transformations in Chinese societies. The focus is mainly on Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, the Mainland, Singapore, and Chinese overseas.
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Edited by Kwok-bun Chan, Tak-sing Cheung and Agnes Ku

The annual is a venue of publication for sociological studies of Chinese societies and the Chinese all over the world. The main focus is on social transformations in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the mainland, Singapore and Chinese overseas.
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Social Transformations in Chinese Societies

The Official Annual of the Hong Kong Sociological Association

Edited by Yanjie Bian, Kwok-bun Chan and Tak-sing Cheung

Social Transformations in Chinese Societies is the official annual of The Hong Kong Sociological Association. It publishes articles of original research that addresses theoretical, methodological, or substantive issues of sociological significance about or related to social transformations in Chinese societies. The focus is mainly on Hong Kong, Taiwan, the mainland, Singapore, and Chinese overseas. Review essays of exceptionally high quality are also welcome.
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Tak-Sing Cheung, Chung-Fang Yang, Chi-Yue Chiu, Ambrose Yeo-Chi King, Kin-Man Chan and Hoi-Man Chan

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Chung Fang Yang, Chi Yue Chiu, Kin Man Chan, Ambrose King, Tak Sing Cheung and Hoi Man Chan

Abstract

As a major source of social values in East Asia, Confucianism assumes especial significance amidst the proliferation of instrumental rationality in modern societies. This study attempts to answer the question: how Confucian are contemporary Chinese? By way of constructing an ideal type of Confucian actors, which is then applied to a survey of three Chinese communities, this study tries to formulate a new perspective in depicting the character of modern Confucian actors, measured in terms of their dynamic proximity to the Confucian ideal type. Our approach marks a shift of emphasis, both empirically and methodologically, compared with previous work on this topic. On the empirical side, our study breaks with the long-standing, classical distinction between the 'gentleman' and the 'commoner' prevalent in Confucian discourse. Degrees of proximity to Confucian values are viewed in representational—i.e. non-evaluative—terms. In constructing the ideal type of Confucian actors, we distinguish between formal and substantive values in Confucianism. This analytical distinction allows our study to demonstrate the continued relevance of Confucianism. While substantive values change over time, the formal, analytical core that captures the essence of Confucianism continues to survive in the face of the vicissitudes of modernity and the spread of instrumental rationality.