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The Isomorphism Of Family And State And The Integration Of Church And State: On The Differences Between The Confucian Political Tradition And Democratic Politics

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Chapter Summary

Many Chinese and foreign thinkers have noted that in the political theory and practice of traditional China, the state and the family are isomorphic. This chapter examines some problems China has encountered in its political modernization. It compares the political thought and institutions of Chinese Confucianism with modern democratic politics. Through this comparison, it first highlights the special characteristics of traditional Chinese political theory and practice; and second, it argues that these two types of politics are two incommensurable models. The chapter conducts this examination on two levels: the institutional level and the broader conceptual level. If we regard Confucianism as a religion, then we can naturally consider the entire state a religious organization, with the emperor as leader, his ministers as priests, and people all as believers. In traditional culture the court was called miaotang, which also means "temple;" this demonstrates the integration of church and state.

Keywords: Chinese; conceptual level; Confucianism; democratic politics; family; institutional level; integration of church; isomorphic; political tradition; state



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