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5 - Chen Lai and the Max Weber Dilemma

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2019

Els van Dongen
Affiliation:
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
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Summary

Chapter 5 shows how the debates on radicalism were transformed after the renewed emphasis on economic reform in 1992 and it targets the perceived cultural radicalism of the May Fourth Movement. The chapter looks into the formation of debates on May Fourth during the period of its seventieth anniversary and during the 1989 protest movement. It shows the entanglement of the debates on May Fourth radicalism with the re-evaluation of Confucianism on mainland China in the context of the increasing commercialization and growing moral vacuum in society. The key figure in the chapter is the philosopher Chen Lai because of his prominence in these discussions. Furthermore, he was influenced by Tu Wei-ming, which, as shown in Chapter 3, illustrates the trajectory of Chinese thought during the reform period, making its way back to mainland China through China-born scholars based in the United States. The chapter argues that advocacies of New Confucianism were no less a manifestation of the realistic revolution of the time in their attempt to demonstrate the role of Confucianism in modernization and to redefine the role of the intellectual. In this chapter, these questions are discussed through the lens of Max Weber.
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Chapter
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Realistic Revolution
Contesting Chinese History, Culture, and Politics after 1989
, pp. 131 - 163
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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