Carrying Confucianism by Jochim

Carrying Confucianism by Jochim - 3. CARRYING CONFUCIANISM...

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3. CARRYING CONFUCIANISM INTO THE MODERN WORLD The Taiwan Case Christian lochim THE ALLEGED R 0 L E of Confucianism in Taiwan's postwar economic growth has been the topic of many studies. By contrast, very little has been done to determine what kind of change the tradition itself has experienced or even to describe the nature of the tradition in itspresentforms. It may seem odd that scholars would be willing to speculate on the social and economic effects of a system of meaning that has not been clearly defined, let alone researched in detail. However, according to Clifford Geertz, this error has often been committed by those in his field, social anthropology. In his words: "The anthropological study of religion is therefore a two-stage operation: first, an analysis of the system of meanings embodied in the symbols which make up the religion proper, and, second, the relating of these systems to socio-structural and psychological processes. My dissatisfaction with so much of contemporary social anthropological work in religion is not that it concerns itself with the second stage, but that it neglects the first, and in so doing takes for granted what most needs to be elucidated (Geertz 1973,125). This essay does not take for granted a knowledge of Confucianism as a preexistent meaning system that permeates Taiwanese society or the Chinese subconscious. My assumptions are, in fact, quite contrary to this. I assume that each of the world's "religious" traditions is continually reinterfieted, 4 that, at any given time, its protean form can be understood only by studying I its current interpreters, and that the researcher's first taskis to identify and understand these interpreters.' This essay is also shaped by the hypothesis that, in toda y 's world, each tradition is to some degree changing in accor- dance with cross-cultural trends that affect all modernizing traditions. This essay is structured as follows. First, I present relevant cross-cultural trends. Next, I makesome general comments on Confucianism as a modern- izing tradition. Then, I conduct a detailed analysis of Confucian interpreters and interpretations in postwar Taiwan. Finally, I offer concluding comments on how Confucianism has changed in postwar Taiwan. The essay aims to incorporate forty-five years of postwar history, saying little about develop- ments after 1990. MEGATRENDS AMONG MODERNIZING RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS All the trends that I present below can be grouped under four megatrends, each represented by a pair of concepts, namely: globalism and nationalisn~; individualism and democratization; rationality and progress; and this- worldliness and economic encompassment. Among the four pairings, the first differs from the others in that it serves to incorporate related brrt opposing trends.
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Carrying Confucianism by Jochim - 3. CARRYING CONFUCIANISM...

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