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Salvation Of The State And Race: Social Darwinism At The Dawn Of The Twentieth Century

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents most essential topics discussed by Liang's followers in Korea in the first decade of the twentieth century in connection with Korea's 'survival' and modern 'rebirth'. It attempts to show how Confucianism, criticised for its failure to prepare Koreans for the task of 'survival' in the new, competitive world, was simultaneously reinvented as Korea's 'national ethical teaching' and charged with the task of teaching patriotism to the new generations. The chapter shows that, rather than Confucianism, 'manly' muscular strength and 'patriotic' pride in country's supposed 'great military past' were seen as the most essential ingredients in nurturing the nation's 'survival skills'. The understanding of modernity's 'survival game' as a collective ethical achievement clearly exposed the degree to which residual Confucian moralism was integrated into the Social Darwinist nationalist discourse of the new age.

Keywords: Confucianism; Korea; Social Darwinist



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