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Confucian Cultures of Authority

Peter D. Hershock, Roger T. Ames

Publication Year: 2006

This volume examines the values that have historically guided the negotiation of identity, both practical and ideal, in Chinese Confucian culture, considers how these values play into the conception and exercise of authority, and assesses their contemporary relevance in a rapidly globalizing world. Included are essays that explore the rule of ritual in classical Confucian political discourse; parental authority in early medieval tales; authority in writings on women; authority in the great and long-beloved folk novel of China Journey to the West; and the anti-Confucianism of Lu Xun, the twentieth-century writer and reformer. By examining authority in cultural context, these essays shed considerable light on the continuities and contentions underlying the vibrancy of Chinese culture. While of interest to individual scholars and students, the book also exemplifies the merits of a thematic (rather than geographic or area studies) approach to incorporating Asian content throughout the curriculum. This approach provides increased opportunities for cross-cultural comparison and a forum for encouraging values-centered conversation in the classroom.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Confucian Cultures of Authority

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction:Confucian Cultures of Authority

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pp. vii-xvii

It has often been said that change is the only constant. So often, in fact, has the claim been made recently that it has taken on the softly tarnished patina of a clich

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Two Loci of Authority:Autonomous Individuals and Related Persons1

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pp. 1-20

I want to consider the concept of authority in cross-cultural perspective, with specific reference on the one hand to the contemporary United States, and on the other, to China, and even more specifically, classical Confucianism. Nuances aside, there are two ways authority may be exercised: by coercion, or threats thereof, based on strength and power; or by persuasion, based on knowledge and reason. In the former case, if the ...

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Intimate Authority: The Rule of Ritualin Classical Confucian Political Discourse

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pp. 21-47

This chapter is a discussion of the nature of political authority in the normative political discourse of classical Confucianism. It is set against the background of the perceived particularism that characterizes a significant portion of the classical Confucian teaching. Classical Confucianism, as an ethical, political, and religious teaching, has often been regarded as advocating family-centered moral particularism. This is in sharp ...

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The Wei (Positioning)-Ming(Naming)-Lianmian (Face)-Guanxi(Relationship)-Renqing(Humanized Feelings) Complex in Contemporary Chinese Culture

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pp. 49-64

In search of a functional equivalent in indigenous Chinese culture for Roger Ames’s term “culture of authority” in his call for papers, I have identified five native Chinese terms closest to the concept of “authority.” They are wei, ming, and lianmian, guanxi and renqing. I define wei as a position or ...

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Creeping Absolutism: Parental Authority as Seen in Early Medieval Tales of Filial Offspring

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pp. 65-91

... Moreover, the Code deals stiff penalties for any unfilial acts: sons who curse or beat their parents or report their crimes to the authorities should be executed; those who disobey their parents’ orders or materially support them in a deficient manner should serve two years of penal servitude; those who have separate household registers (i.e. live apart) from their parents or keep private goods should serve three years of penal servitude; and those who ...

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Virtue (de), Talent (cai),and Beauty (se): Authoring a Full-fledged Womanhood in Lien

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pp. 93-115

... This lienü tradition provides an opportunity to explore the ongoing social construction of female identity and gender roles within concrete social contexts. This essay will embark on a philosophical analysis of these stories to demonstrate how the authority of woman was constructed, comprehended, and contested in the early Chinese thought and culture. This endeavor will focus on three distinctive and culturally significant contexts relating to ...

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Aspects of Authority in Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West

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pp. 117-149

The Chinese folk novel, Journey to the West (Xiyou Ji), attributed to Wu Cheng’en (c.1500–c.1582), was popularized in English through Arthur Waley’s abridged translation, Monkey, first published in 1943.1 Waley presents the greater part of thirty chapters of the 100-chapter sixteenth-century novel, omitting most of the poetry as well as the couplets that introduce and often end each chapter. While Waley’s accessible ...

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Establishing Authority through Scholarship: Ruan Yuan and the Xuehaitang Academy

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pp. 151-169

Studies of authority in late imperial China have often emphasized that a single individual, the emperor, held a monopoly on legitimate authority.1 While it was certainly the case that all formal political authority derived from the emperor, recent scholarship on local society has drawn attention to the practice of authority in arenas outside the court and bureaucracy. Some scholars, for example, have examined the exercise ...

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Intellectual and Political Controversies over Authority in China: 1898–1922

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pp. 171-214

The problem of transforming political authority in late nineteenth and early twentieth century China was intimately related to the quest for a new state form and political order. As the “moral administrative reformism” of Qing “practical statesmanship” (qingshi) of the late nineteenth century proved increasingly inadequate to the country’s mounting political and economic problems, attention shifted to reorganizing the ...

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Ought We Throw the Confucian Baby Out with the Authoritarian Bathwater?:A Critical Inquiry into Lu Xun’s Anti-Confucian Identity

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pp. 215-245

The concerns of this paper emerge out of a number of interrelated interests and ongoing intellectual problems; primary among them are those arising from contact between Western and non-Western cultures and values, specifically between post-Enlightenment European culture and that of post-Qing Confucian China. One culture was in the full thrust of its intellectual and expansionist glory, and the other at a moral and ...


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pp. 247-250


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pp. 251-258

E-ISBN-13: 9780791481561
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791467978
Print-ISBN-10: 079146797X

Page Count: 276
Publication Year: 2006