Guoxue Re and the Ambiguity of Chinese Modernity
This essay addresses the symbolic or socio-ideological significance of what is called guoxue re in China today. In the author’s view, as a concept with a fixed morphological form, guoxue has been traversing history with a changing content, and for different people or social groups it means different things and serves different interests. The catachrestically used term guoxue acquires an imploding ambiguity when it is manipulated to accommodate different needs and desires in the contemporary Chinese culture and commodity market. The kaleidoscopic vertiginous guoxue landscape in China, the essay argues, ultimately points to an unmistakable collusion among the state government, the academic elite, and the commodity market. As such, the imploding ambiguity of the concept and discourse of guoxue bears a continuity with the ambiguity of Chinese modernity, which at present is a conglomerate of capitalism, Marxism, Confucianism, economism or developmentalism, and harmonious society. Moreover, the contemporary guoxue re betrays an innermost desire in the Chinese national unconscious for a different genuinely existing social order, and for other ways of being human than those defined by capitalist modernity while China is being dominated by the rule of capital.
Index by keyword :guoxue, ambiguity, Confucian values, modernity, market, capitalism, national studies
Xie Shaobo, « Guoxue Re and the Ambiguity of Chinese Modernity », China Perspectives [Online], 2011/1 | 2011, Online since 30 March 2014, connection on 23 March 2017. URL : http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/5378Top of page
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