China's New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society (New in Paper) / Edition 2

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Overview

Why do Chinese sex workers sing karaoke with their customers? And why do some Communist Party cadres get promoted if they care for their elderly parents? Daniel Bell-one of the few Westerners to teach the humanities at a Chinese university-draws on his personal experiences to answer these questions and reveals an unexpected portrait of a rapidly changing society.

With a storyteller's eye for detail, Bell observes the rituals, routines, and tensions of daily life in China. He presents the startling argument that Confucian social hierarchy can actually contribute to economic equality in China. He also looks at the ways that Confucianism affects his role as a political theorist and teacher.

By examining the challenges that arise as China adapts ancient values to contemporary society, China's New Confucianism enriches the dialogue of possibilities available to this evolving nation. In a new preface, Bell discusses the challenges of promoting Confucianism in China and the West.

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Editorial Reviews

The Independent
Bell, who teaches politics at Beijing's crack Tsinghua University, is well placed to comment on changing Chinese attitudes. He detects signs of a reviving interest in, and practice of, pre-communist traditions, whether in the lecture hall, in the streets, or inside karaoke bars...China's New Confucianism wisely refrains from any grand schematic overview. Rather, this is an informed and thoughtful interim response to an important contemporary trend.
— Justin Wintle
Los Angeles Times Book Review
This revival is the subject of political philosopher Daniel A. Bell's trenchant and surprisingly personal China's New Confucianism. Bell was the first foreigner hired since the Cultural Revolution to teach humanities at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University; one of the few Western professors in the country, he enjoys a unique outsider/insider perspective.
— Michael Levitin
Choice
This interesting and insightful volume by Bell offers an insider's account of a rapidly changing society in China and seeks to debunk a variety of crude stereotypes of Confucians.
— S.K. Ma
Times Higher Education
Bell paints a vivid portrait of Confucianism in today's China, a society undergoing drastic socioeconomic transformation. In his writing, Confucianism is no longer a quasi-religious body of dogma but a living, developing and constantly renewable stream of ideas.
— Yongnian Zheng
China Quarterly
Daniel Bell is winningly realistic about the difficulties involved in adapting Confucian practices to a more egalitarian world and uniquely capable as a scholar in this area. . . . Bell's scholarly discussions . . . draw on a subtle and wide-ranging grasp of the classics of Chinese political philosophy.
— Brian Walker
Literary Review of Canada
Whether discussing sexual or national politics, Bell offers a sympathetic, nuanced approach to China that counsels tolerance and reason, informing the general reader reliably and concretely about the significance of Confucian ideas in China today.
— Timothy Cheek
Journal of Chinese Political Science
There is no better scholar on a West and East dialogue than Professor Bell. . . . [He] observes Chinese society as an outsider and insider, with distance yet intimacy, seeing more things than either and in more novel ways.
— Yan Sun
Asia Times Online
In [China's New Confucianism], [Bell] talks about such subjects as why Communist Party leaders invoke centuries-old Confucian values now? Why do senior communist leaders dye their hair black? Why the Chinese view that human rights should not have priority over national sovereignty? The adventurous professor even talks about why sexual intercourse with karaoke bar girls in China is often preceded by singing a duet. Bell draws on various social scenes in today's China and provides a Confucian explanation...In the book, Bell offers his personal observations on some Western 'misunderstandings' about China.
— Sunny Lee
China International Business
Daniel Bell has been able to breathe fresh life into an ancient and one largely-dismissed subject—and by doing so, has shown readers the possible benefits of the reintroduction of parts of Confucianism into modern Chinese society. China's New Confucianism is a great reminder of the wisdom—as well as some of the prejudices—of previous generations of thinkers and leaders.
— Kit Gillet
Far Eastern Economic Review
[C]hina's New Confucianism is certainly provocative. . . . Mr. Bell succeeds in using Confucianism to explicate everyday phenomena, but he is most convincing in political theory.
— April Rabkin
Centre Daily Times
This is an informative and entertaining book on the problems and challenges of contemporary China. . . . [I]t is learned, sensible, and heartfelt.
— On-cho Ng
Survival
China's New Confucianism stands out for not conforming to a preordained Western conceptual framework. The personal anecdotes are interesting and Bell displays cultural sensitivity throughout.
— Lanxin Xiang
Los Angeles Times Book Review - Michael Levitin
This revival is the subject of political philosopher Daniel A. Bell's trenchant and surprisingly personal China's New Confucianism. Bell was the first foreigner hired since the Cultural Revolution to teach humanities at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University; one of the few Western professors in the country, he enjoys a unique outsider/insider perspective.
Times Higher Education - Yongnian Zheng
Bell paints a vivid portrait of Confucianism in today's China, a society undergoing drastic socioeconomic transformation. In his writing, Confucianism is no longer a quasi-religious body of dogma but a living, developing and constantly renewable stream of ideas.
Choice - S.K. Ma
This interesting and insightful volume by Bell offers an insider's account of a rapidly changing society in China and seeks to debunk a variety of crude stereotypes of Confucians.
China Quarterly - Brian Walker
Daniel Bell is winningly realistic about the difficulties involved in adapting Confucian practices to a more egalitarian world and uniquely capable as a scholar in this area. . . . Bell's scholarly discussions . . . draw on a subtle and wide-ranging grasp of the classics of Chinese political philosophy.
Literary Review of Canada - Timothy Cheek
Whether discussing sexual or national politics, Bell offers a sympathetic, nuanced approach to China that counsels tolerance and reason, informing the general reader reliably and concretely about the significance of Confucian ideas in China today.
Journal of Chinese Political Science - Yan Sun
There is no better scholar on a West and East dialogue than Professor Bell. . . . [He] observes Chinese society as an outsider and insider, with distance yet intimacy, seeing more things than either and in more novel ways.
The Independent - Justin Wintle
Bell, who teaches politics at Beijing's crack Tsinghua University, is well placed to comment on changing Chinese attitudes. He detects signs of a reviving interest in, and practice of, pre-communist traditions, whether in the lecture hall, in the streets, or inside karaoke bars...China's New Confucianism wisely refrains from any grand schematic overview. Rather, this is an informed and thoughtful interim response to an important contemporary trend.
Asia Times Online - Sunny Lee
In [China's New Confucianism], [Bell] talks about such subjects as why Communist Party leaders invoke centuries-old Confucian values now? Why do senior communist leaders dye their hair black? Why the Chinese view that human rights should not have priority over national sovereignty? The adventurous professor even talks about why sexual intercourse with karaoke bar girls in China is often preceded by singing a duet. Bell draws on various social scenes in today's China and provides a Confucian explanation...In the book, Bell offers his personal observations on some Western 'misunderstandings' about China.
China International Business - Kit Gillet
Daniel Bell has been able to breathe fresh life into an ancient and one largely-dismissed subject—and by doing so, has shown readers the possible benefits of the reintroduction of parts of Confucianism into modern Chinese society. China's New Confucianism is a great reminder of the wisdom—as well as some of the prejudices—of previous generations of thinkers and leaders.
Far Eastern Economic Review - April Rabkin
[C]hina's New Confucianism is certainly provocative. . . . Mr. Bell succeeds in using Confucianism to explicate everyday phenomena, but he is most convincing in political theory.
Centre Daily Times - On-cho Ng
This is an informative and entertaining book on the problems and challenges of contemporary China. . . . [I]t is learned, sensible, and heartfelt.
Survival - Lanxin Xiang
China's New Confucianism stands out for not conforming to a preordained Western conceptual framework. The personal anecdotes are interesting and Bell displays cultural sensitivity throughout.
From the Publisher
"This is an informative and entertaining book on the problems and challenges of contemporary China. . . . [I]t is learned, sensible, and heartfelt."—On-cho Ng, Centre Daily Times

"China's New Confucianism stands out for not conforming to a preordained Western conceptual framework. The personal anecdotes are interesting and Bell displays cultural sensitivity throughout."—Lanxin Xiang, Survival

"By examining the challenges that arise as China adapts ancient values to contemporary society, China's New Confucianism enriches the dialogue of possibilities available to this rapidly evolving nation."—
World Book Industry

Far Eastern Economic Review
[C]hina's New Confucianism is certainly provocative. . . . Mr. Bell succeeds in using Confucianism to explicate everyday phenomena, but he is most convincing in political theory.
— April Rabkin
The Independent
Bell, who teaches politics at Beijing's crack Tsinghua University, is well placed to comment on changing Chinese attitudes. He detects signs of a reviving interest in, and practice of, pre-communist traditions, whether in the lecture hall, in the streets, or inside karaoke bars...China's New Confucianism wisely refrains from any grand schematic overview. Rather, this is an informed and thoughtful interim response to an important contemporary trend.
— Justin Wintle
Los Angeles Times Book Review
This revival is the subject of political philosopher Daniel A. Bell's trenchant and surprisingly personal China's New Confucianism. Bell was the first foreigner hired since the Cultural Revolution to teach humanities at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University; one of the few Western professors in the country, he enjoys a unique outsider/insider perspective.
— Michael Levitin
Survival
China's New Confucianism stands out for not conforming to a preordained Western conceptual framework. The personal anecdotes are interesting and Bell displays cultural sensitivity throughout.
— Lanxin Xiang
Asia Times Online
In [China's New Confucianism], [Bell] talks about such subjects as why Communist Party leaders invoke centuries-old Confucian values now? Why do senior communist leaders dye their hair black? Why the Chinese view that human rights should not have priority over national sovereignty? The adventurous professor even talks about why sexual intercourse with karaoke bar girls in China is often preceded by singing a duet. Bell draws on various social scenes in today's China and provides a Confucian explanation...In the book, Bell offers his personal observations on some Western 'misunderstandings' about China.
— Sunny Lee
China International Business
Daniel Bell has been able to breathe fresh life into an ancient and one largely-dismissed subject—and by doing so, has shown readers the possible benefits of the reintroduction of parts of Confucianism into modern Chinese society. China's New Confucianism is a great reminder of the wisdom—as well as some of the prejudices—of previous generations of thinkers and leaders.
— Kit Gillet
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691145853
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 5/9/2010
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 758,488
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel A. Bell is professor of political theory at Tsinghua University in Beijing. His books include "Beyond Liberal Democracy" and "East Meets West" (both Princeton).

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition ix

Acknowledgments xxiii

Introduction xxvii

Part 1 Politics 1

1 From Communism to Confucianism: Changing Discourses on China's Political Future 3

2 War, Peace, and China's Soft Power 19

3 Hierarchical Rituals for Egalitarian Societies 38

Part 2 Society 57

4 Sex, Singing, and Civility: The Costs and Benefits of the Karaoke Trade 59

5 How Should Employers Treat Domestic Workers? 75

6 The Politics of Sports: From the 2006 World Cup to the 2008 Olympics 91

Part 3 Education 105

7 A Critique of Critical Thinking 107

8 Teaching Political Theory in Beijing 128

9 On Being Confucian: Why Confucians Needn't Be Old, Serious, and Conservative 148

Appendices

1 Depoliticizing the Analects 163

2 Jiang Qing's Political Confucianism 175

Index 231

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