Perceptions of Confucianism in 20th Century Korea

Perceptions of Confucianism in 20th Century Korea -...

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Kimberly Zhang Perceptions of Confucianism in 20 th Century Korea Confucian Values 1. Political and social values of Confucianism a. Political i. Harmonious state in which monarchical authority was articulated through civil bureaucrats governing society ii. Legitimated kingly authority, also stressed rule of virtuous men and importance of selecting officials on basis of merit iii. Conceived of hierarchical society in which authority was tempered by benevolence downward and reciprocal loyalty and submissiveness to the state from below iv. Thought to form a part of a universal social system regulated by certain values and harmonized by adherence to well-defined norms b. Social i. Revolve around idea of five primary social relations; father-son, husband- wife, elder and younger brother ii. If families were stable, patriarchal authority upheld, and proper relations between generations and sexes maintained, then society at large would be harmonized 2. Confucian-inspired institutions and rituals that existed in Yi Dynasty Korea a. Censorate i. Charged with monitoring behavior of monarch and bureaucrats ii. Used traditional right of remonstrance to ensure adherence to Confucian norms in personal and official conducts b. Civil service exams i. Aimed to select officials based on merit ii. Primary avenue of social mobility iii. State and private schools developed as means of preparing students for exams 3. Yi dynasty, “hybrid” system of government a. Confucianism contains contradictory impulses that support centralization of political
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power around a merit-based bureaucracy while also affirming ascriptive class distinctions in society b. During the Yi dynasty, these contradictions were maintained by the development of an aristocratic/bureaucratic hybrid system that preserved certain ascriptive privileges while concurrently recruiting officials on the basis of merit through exams c. Korea’s relative isolation, long period of peace and concomitant atrophy of its military institutions preserved system up to late 19 th century 4. Cause of political crisis in Confucian ideology and relation to late-Yi Dynasty response to foreign demands for trade in 19 th century a. System highly resistant to change b. Relatively closed pool of aristocratic lineages dominated official posts in central
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This note was uploaded on 09/13/2009 for the course 220 242 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '09 term at Rutgers.

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Perceptions of Confucianism in 20th Century Korea -...

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