web site hit counter The Confucian-Legalist State: A New Theory of Chinese History (Oxford Studies in Early Empires) - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Confucian-Legalist State: A New Theory of Chinese History (Oxford Studies in Early Empires)

Availability: Ready to download

In the The Confucian-Legalist State, Dingxin Zhao offers a radically new analysis of Chinese imperial history from the eleventh century BCE to the fall of the Qing dynasty. This study first uncovers the factors that explain how, and why, China developed into a bureaucratic empire under the Qin dynasty in 221 BCE. It then examines the political system that crystallized duri In the The Confucian-Legalist State, Dingxin Zhao offers a radically new analysis of Chinese imperial history from the eleventh century BCE to the fall of the Qing dynasty. This study first uncovers the factors that explain how, and why, China developed into a bureaucratic empire under the Qin dynasty in 221 BCE. It then examines the political system that crystallized during the Western Han dynasty, a system that drew on Chinas philosophical traditions of Confucianism and Legalism. Despite great changes in Chinas demography, religion, technology, and socioeconomic structures, this Confucian-Legalist political system survived for over two millennia. Yet, it was precisely because of the systems resilience that China, for better or worse, did not develop industrial capitalism as Western Europe did, notwithstanding Chinas economic prosperity and technological sophistication beginning with the Northern Song dynasty. In examining the nature of this political system, Zhao offers a new way of viewing Chinese history, one that emphasizes the importance of structural forces and social mechanisms in shaping historical dynamics. As a work of historical sociology, The Confucian-Legalist State aims to show how the patterns of Chinese history were not shaped by any single force, but instead by meaningful activities of social actors which were greatly constrained by, and at the same time reproduced and modified, the constellations of political, economic, military, and ideological forces. This book thus offers a startling new understanding of long-term patterns of Chinese history, one that should trigger debates for years to come among historians, political scientists, and sociologists.


Compare

In the The Confucian-Legalist State, Dingxin Zhao offers a radically new analysis of Chinese imperial history from the eleventh century BCE to the fall of the Qing dynasty. This study first uncovers the factors that explain how, and why, China developed into a bureaucratic empire under the Qin dynasty in 221 BCE. It then examines the political system that crystallized duri In the The Confucian-Legalist State, Dingxin Zhao offers a radically new analysis of Chinese imperial history from the eleventh century BCE to the fall of the Qing dynasty. This study first uncovers the factors that explain how, and why, China developed into a bureaucratic empire under the Qin dynasty in 221 BCE. It then examines the political system that crystallized during the Western Han dynasty, a system that drew on Chinas philosophical traditions of Confucianism and Legalism. Despite great changes in Chinas demography, religion, technology, and socioeconomic structures, this Confucian-Legalist political system survived for over two millennia. Yet, it was precisely because of the systems resilience that China, for better or worse, did not develop industrial capitalism as Western Europe did, notwithstanding Chinas economic prosperity and technological sophistication beginning with the Northern Song dynasty. In examining the nature of this political system, Zhao offers a new way of viewing Chinese history, one that emphasizes the importance of structural forces and social mechanisms in shaping historical dynamics. As a work of historical sociology, The Confucian-Legalist State aims to show how the patterns of Chinese history were not shaped by any single force, but instead by meaningful activities of social actors which were greatly constrained by, and at the same time reproduced and modified, the constellations of political, economic, military, and ideological forces. This book thus offers a startling new understanding of long-term patterns of Chinese history, one that should trigger debates for years to come among historians, political scientists, and sociologists.

33 review for The Confucian-Legalist State: A New Theory of Chinese History (Oxford Studies in Early Empires)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Keith Bouchard

    "The Chinese of my generation grew up in an intellectually unhealthy environment. Before joining the writing group, I had never read any ancient Chinese philosophical text in the original or any serious writings by historians. Joining the writing group gave me a chance to read some of the ancient Chinese texts written by or credited to Confucius." "My doubts scared me. Independent thinking was dangerous in Maoist China. In 1970 three youths in Yinchuan received death sentences merely for having o "The Chinese of my generation grew up in an intellectually unhealthy environment. Before joining the writing group, I had never read any ancient Chinese philosophical text in the original or any serious writings by historians. Joining the writing group gave me a chance to read some of the ancient Chinese texts written by or credited to Confucius." "My doubts scared me. Independent thinking was dangerous in Maoist China. In 1970 three youths in Yinchuan received death sentences merely for having organized a study group on Marxism and for expressing critical views of contemporary politics." "I use the term “China” as a shorthand reference to an area, varying in size over time, where Chinese characters served as the predominant form of written communication and where the inhabitants showed a certain commitment to a changing but identifiable cultural complex." "The Lamarckian nature of social change means that culture is more flexible and adaptable than are genetically programmed instincts. Yet, this flexibility and adaptability can be dangerous when it leads human beings to exploit natural resources and even tamper with natural laws for immediate gain, regardless of long-term negative consequences. It allows some social groups to glorify their conquest of nature or of other groups as 'progress.'" "We must understand, however, the crucial differences between biological evolution and human competition, and we must not see efficiency-driven development as unproblematic social progress" "About this time, Grand Historian begins to present the following kind of storyline. Before or during a military campaign Qin would send secret agents into the enemy state to spread a rumor that its military commander was going to defect to Qin, whereupon the king of that state, believing the rumor, dismissed or even executed." "Unlike in early-modern Europe, nationalistic ideologies did not develop in Eastern Zhou China. Political advisers or military commanders of the time resemble the CEOs of modern companies in the ease with which they could leave one state for a better position in another, and neither the defectors nor the rulers who gladly received them seemed to have moral qualms about such actions." "More specifically, economic power derives from humans’ desire to increase their capacity to extract, transform, distribute, and consume the resources of nature 12 ; military power derives from human aggression and the resulting need for organized defense; ideological power derives from humans’ need to justify or glorify their lives and actions; and political power derives from humans’ social nature and desire to formulate "Humans and chimpanzees share many similarities. Chimps show aggression and defend their territory, enter 'political' relationships, and use tools to extract resources from the environment—as do humans. Humans, however, additionally need to understand the meaning of their lives and to justify their actions and intentions to themselves and to their fellows. Humans’ competitive behavior is limited by basic human behavioral traits—that is, by their territorial, political, economic, and normative/ideological behaviors." "The church is one of the most important embodiments of ideological power, but the medieval Catholic Church at its zenith had large land holdings (economic power), commanded armies (military power), and played an extensive role in European politics (political power)." "Actual persons and organizations are functionally multifarious; that is, they do not reify only a single power source ... For example, the state is the most important embodiment of ideal-typical political power, but an actual state may also wield enormous economic, ideological, and military power, reifying all these aspects of competition." "Military competition has destruction as an aim and production as an unintended consequence." "Cumulative development accelerates in a society only when, among the four power sources, economic and/or military competition are dominant" "Fifth, although both economic and military competition generate clear winners and losers and accelerate cumulative development, they differ in their impact on the distribution of social power. Military power can easily be gathered into the hands of a few. When military forces are under the control of a state, military competition compels the ruler of the state to govern and tax more efficiently..." "Military competition thus strengthens the centralized power of the state." "In contrast, a competitive commercial environment not only enhances the total amount of economic resources in the society but also facilitates the emergence of numerous big and small economic power holders within the society. Economic competition thus boosts the decentralized power of the society "Military commanders frequently usurped the thrones they had fought to protect, and then found that they had become chiefly political actors and that, as such, were expected to provide public goods to their newly won subjects (e.g., law and order, aid during famines). Political actors, however, were unlikely to become chiefly military actors even if they also controlled the military, because their subjects would remain loyal only so long as some minimal public goods (their needs) were attended to. The need to provide public goods gives political actors a performance-based legitimacy that the other ideal-typical power actors do not enjoy." "Political power enjoys certain primacy over the other three power sources. Marxists, however, attribute to economic power a deterministic primacy in shaping historical change, and this is not entirely wrong. Economic power derives from humans’ most elementary needs—food, clothing, and shelter, and the tools to produce these—to sustain life. Economic power is the 'base' of existence for all social actors." "Industrial capitalism is only one of the most important consequences of the valuation of privately oriented instrumental rationalism. Only when privately oriented profit-making activities are acknowledged to have positive value equal to other societal values can the capitalistic spirit flourish and industrial capitalism develop. Industrial capitalism is a feature of modernity resulting from the valuation and hence the dominance of privately oriented instrumental rationalism." "Privately oriented instrumental rationalism became a positive value in Europe under three mutually reinforcing conditions: (1) the previously interstitially existing merchants gradually acquired political, ideological, and military power (epitomized by the bourgeoisie’s domination of city governance) sufficient to hold the pressures of the traditional political and ideological actors at bay and to sponsor and influence “progressive” intellectuals to write essays in support of profit-making activities and bourgeoisie power; (2) the state actors increasingly relied on alliances with merchants for more money, for imperial expansion, and for the management of colonies; and (3) the existence of a well-developed theoretical-formal rationality that supported systematic theorization by intellectuals in which profit-making could be interpreted as a positive value." "The new Zhou rulers created a political concept called the “Mandate of Heaven,” in which they posited that the Shang rulers had once possessed a sacred mandate bestowed by heaven, but that because of the misrule of the last Shang king and the virtuous conduct of the Zhou rulers, heaven had withdrawn the mandate from the Shang and bestowed it on the Zhou." "Following the conquest, the Zhou victors had to contend with strong resentment and resistance from Shang aristocrats ... At the heart of the concept [of the Mandate] is the idea that the ruler holds a divine right to rule as long as he looks after the welfare of the people but risks being overthrown if he fails in this duty. Being a good king/emperor entails not only giving orders but engaging in moral conduct, meaning that since the beginning of the Western Zhou time, performance was a very important dimension of state legitimacy in China. Linking performance with the right to rule also means that the king/emperor in China was not absolutely divine, which contrasts sharply with, for example, the European doctrine of the divine right of kings, which asserts that a monarch receives the power directly from God and is subject to no earthly authority nor to the will of his people." "Many historians describe the Zhou political system as 'feudal.' The Zhou political order does indeed share similarities with medieval European feudalism: both were hierarchical political structures in which a high-level political authority (the overlord) granted a piece of land, or fief, to an aristocrat (vassal), who enjoyed a certain autonomy." "Chinese “feudalism” shares these charateristics but differs from its European counterpart in three important ways. In Europe, feudalism developed out of some elements of late Roman and early Germanic societies; in Zhou China it was a top-down political imposition of the Western Zhou rulers. Moreover, Chinese feudalism was kinship-based, whereas European feudalism was not." "In an alphabetic writing system, the greater the variation in the pronunciations of different regions, the more likely these pronunciations will result in modified spellings and thus different written vernaculars and intellectual traditions. In other words, without modern education and communication networks to act as standardizing agents, an alphabetic writing system tends to fragment cultures and identities. The Chinese writing system based on Chinese characters is more difficult to learn than an alphabetic writing system. On the other hand, most Chinese characters, though pronounced differently in different regions, carry identical meanings. This allows people of quite different regional dialects to read a text and understand it in the same way, something that greatly facilitated communication in premodern China." "The religiosity of the people in the Shang dynasty was in several ways similar to that of other early civilizations. They worshipped ancestors, a plethora of nature gods and Di (the high god), and practiced divination to confer with these divine forces about almost every decision they made." "... philosophers of the time, in particular those whom we today regard as more or less Confucian, often drew inspiration from idealized lineage law in theorizing the bases of a good society. Their writings were later codified into imperial Confucianism. Confucianism became a major Western Zhou legacy." "Bureaucracy has the following four characteristics: (1) it is hierarchically structured; (2) its operation follows rules and procedures rather than the orders of a person; (3) it selects and promotes officials based on their performance; (4) it compensates its officials with a salary. 75 This is an ideal-type definition."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lance Johnson

    The book has good information, but it suffers from jargon overload where much simpler words could have done just as well. It feels like this book was a dissertation or thesis that was copied over almost directly into book form. Don't get me wrong, there are some real gems here, but they are buried under a lot of other things that probably could have been stripped out. If you really like China and are looking to invest a lot of time in a heavy book on the subject then this would be a good book to The book has good information, but it suffers from jargon overload where much simpler words could have done just as well. It feels like this book was a dissertation or thesis that was copied over almost directly into book form. Don't get me wrong, there are some real gems here, but they are buried under a lot of other things that probably could have been stripped out. If you really like China and are looking to invest a lot of time in a heavy book on the subject then this would be a good book to pick up. If, however, you have more of a passing interest then there are many other books which convey roughly the same information in a much more accessible manner.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Zhao

  4. 5 out of 5

    BoQiao Gao

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hox

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sanguinius

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eric Tsui

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bodiguel Armelle

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nate

  10. 5 out of 5

    Quinn

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hein Drop

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steven Chang

  13. 5 out of 5

    n/a

  14. 5 out of 5

    Davor Nikolic

  15. 5 out of 5

    marciverse

  16. 5 out of 5

    Philipp

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dominik

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rami

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shanthanu

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anders

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

  23. 4 out of 5

    BETEP

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tabitha

  25. 4 out of 5

    Henrik

  26. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Mihalich

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jiashi Feng

  28. 5 out of 5

    Denis

  29. 4 out of 5

    Victor

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Y Kim

  31. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  32. 4 out of 5

    Steven Chang

  33. 4 out of 5

    JZ

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.