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research articleInternational journal of areas studies, 2013, vol. 8, iss. 1, p. 5-36This article questions the relevance of the notion of generation to describe the cohort who lives in Beijing and who was born in the 1980s and early 1990s, after the implementation of the reforms and opening-up policy in China. The analysis relies on 627 questionnaires collected in Beijing in 2010. The sample was stratified by age and sex, and, based on quotas; it was split into five age groups (18-26 year-olds, 33-41 year-olds, 48-56 year-olds, 63-71 year-olds and 78-86 year-olds). The respondents were questioned on their perception of turning points and socio-historical changes that occurred during their lifetime. After having analysed the data in a comparative perspective, we came to conclusion that the word generation is suitable to describe the young people from Beijing born in the 1980s and early 1990s not only because they do share autobiographical and collective historical memories, but also because these memories have by and large taken place between their adolescence and entry into adulthood (supporting the hypothesis of the existence of a reminiscence bump).
research articleInternational journal of areas studies, 2013, vol. 8, iss. 1, p. 37-51In my paper I bring out two topics from the ancient Chinese political philosophy. (1) Non-action (wúwéi) that was required from the ruler in the Legalist and Huang-Lao tradition (e.g. Han Feizi, Huainanzi) and was incorporated into the mainstream of political philosophy (e.g. Confucian Dong Zhongshu); (2) care of the people and especially of the needy, that is also required from the ruler, and was stressed mainly in the Mohist and Confucian traditions. From these two ideas I hope to get some “refreshment” for our contemporary political philosophy, and I consider them as logical extensions of democracy. On the other hand, I argue also that the traditional conception of non-acting ruler in the Legalist context should be modified with the Western ideas of the separation of powers and transparency of government; and even that this modification would be more consequent and realistic also in terms of the original Chinese idea itself.
Laozi’s precepts for daily life in the contemporary world: two popular Western (American) interpretationsPublicationresearch articleInternational journal of areas studies, 2013, vol. 8, iss. 1, p. 52-69The paper aims to discuss two popular interpretations of Daoism and its application to contemporary world: The Dao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff and The Truth of Tao by Alex Anatole. In the first part, it will concentrate on the interpretation of Daoist concept of simplicity (pu) in B.Hoff’s book, pointing out to the problem of its simplification and elucidating the cluster of the meanings (or aspects) of pu in this book and in comparison with its understanding in Classical Daoism. In the second part, it will discuss the main points of interpretation of Daoism as a “reflective mirror” for illuminating the problems of Western (in this case, American) contemporary consumer culture, presented in Alex Anatole’s book, with the particular attention on his ideal of “contentment” and “ideal day”. It is claimed, that such popular versions of Daoism, although seemingly contradictory and superficial, and because of this rather mostly ignored by sinologists and investigators of Daoist practices, deserve more careful study by professional scholars, since they are the manifestations of the process of globalization of Daoism, which is inevitable in 21st century. Moreover, they are especially influential in forming a popular image of Daoist teaching, since the messages of such books spread to a far wider public, than the monographs by academic specialists in Chinese (Daoist) studies. 139 184
Neo-Aristotelian Confucianism? Applicability of virtue ethics in early Confucian studiesPublicationresearch articleInternational journal of areas studies, 2013, vol. 8, iss. 1, p. 70-89Since the 80’s of the last century a trend has emerged in the English language literature on Chinese thought that suggests reading early Confucian texts as a form of virtue ethics. However, Alasdair MacIntyre has presented early Confucian and Aristotle’s thoughts as incommensurable thought systems and doubted that notions and statements of one incommensurable thought system can be adequately expressed and addressed within the framework of another. This article discusses MacIntyre’s position and two strategies - employed by the proponents of virtue ethics interpretation of early Confucian texts - of meeting MacIntyre’s challenge. The article attempts to show that none of the responses were successful, thus leaving the quest for the most adequate philosophical framework to interpret early Confucian ethical thought open. 129 37
research articleInternational journal of areas studies, 2013, vol. 8, iss. 1, p. 91-113In the post-2008 global financial crisis era, the global financial governance system has experienced dramatic changes and a comparatively new network system comes into the fore. Meanwhile, China’s extraordinary performance during the crisis by virtue of its unique political and economic systems urged the elevation of its role in the new system. Against this backdrop, three words are appropriate to describe the new system and China’s role in it in the post-crisis era-centripetalism (rather than centrifugalism), elevation (rather than domination) and disparity (rather than coherence). Centripetalism means that patched global financial governance network system has more force to coordinate states and related international organizations. Elevation refers to a relatively more important role of China in the new system, but, by no means, a dominant (or hegemonic) role. China is an indispensable participant rather than a leading power in global financial governance. Disparity indicates the differed strategies of China in various global financial governance institutions or toward different events.