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  • Cited by 12
  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: May 2009

7 - Modernizing Confucianism and ‘new Confucianism’


For some people, Confucianism, a philosophy that looks to a mythical past as an ideal for inspiration, has become obsolete as societies historically under Confucian influence modernize. However, reports of the death of Confucianism are premature. While it has been eclipsed by Western thought and practice for significant periods, Confucianism has undergone a revival in many East Asian societies in the last few decades. Many people continue to identify Confucianism as the mainstream, even the definitive core, of Chinese culture. Confucianism has played many different, sometimes contradictory, roles in modernization, which is understood here as social progress through technological advancement, new modes of production, distribution and exchange for sustained economic growth, new social differentiation and rationalized organizations, increased social mobility, equality, and political participation in sovereign nation-states.