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A History of Chinese Political Thought

Posted By Administration, Sunday, October 20, 2019

Author: Youngmin Kim


Press: Cambridge: Polity

Year of publication: 2018


Brief introduction:


China's rapid rise as a regional and global power is one of the most important political developments of the twenty-first century. Yet the West still largely overlooks or oversimplifies the complex ideas and ideals that have shaped China's national and international development from antiquity to the present day. In this new history of Chinese political thought, I attempt to offer a survey of the major themes in Chinese political thought from customary community to empire, exploring their theoretical importance and the different historical contexts in which they arose. Challenging traditional assumptions about Chinese nationalism and Marxist history, I show that 'China' is not a fixed, single identity, but rather a constantly moving target. My interdisciplinary approach traces the long and nuanced history of Chinese thought as a true tradition anchored around certain key themes; many of which began in the early dynasties and still resonate in China today. Only by appreciating the rich history of political thought in China, I argue, can we begin to understand the intricacies and contradictions of Chinese politics, economy and society today.



Preface viii

1 Introduction 1

2 Enlightened Customary Community 23

3 Political Society 46

4 The State 75

5 Aristocratic Society 94

6 The Metaphysical Republic 114

7 The Greater Integrated World 137

8 Autocracy 156

9 Civil Society or Body Politic? 174

10 Empire 198

Epilogue: China in Larger Contexts 218

Notes 232

Glossary 239

References 247

Index 258


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