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China's New Confucianism:
Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society
Daniel A. Bell
With a new preface by the author

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"Bell, who teaches politics at Beijing's crack Tsinghua University, is well placed to comment on changing Chinese attitudes. He detects signs of a reviving interest in, and practice of, pre-communist traditions, whether in the lecture hall, in the streets, or inside karaoke bars...China's New Confucianism wisely refrains from any grand schematic overview. Rather, this is an informed and thoughtful interim response to an important contemporary trend."--Justin Wintle, The Independent

"In [China's New Confucianism], [Bell] talks about such subjects as why Communist Party leaders invoke centuries-old Confucian values now? Why do senior communist leaders dye their hair black? Why the Chinese view that human rights should not have priority over national sovereignty? The adventurous professor even talks about why sexual intercourse with karaoke bar girls in China is often preceded by singing a duet. Bell draws on various social scenes in today's China and provides a Confucian explanation...In the book, Bell offers his personal observations on some Western 'misunderstandings' about China."--Sunny Lee, Asia Times Online

"Daniel Bell has been able to breathe fresh life into an ancient and one largely-dismissed subject--and by doing so, has shown readers the possible benefits of the reintroduction of parts of Confucianism into modern Chinese society. China's New Confucianism is a great reminder of the wisdom--as well as some of the prejudices--of previous generations of thinkers and leaders."--Kit Gillet, China International Business

"[C]hina's New Confucianism is certainly provocative. . . . Mr. Bell succeeds in using Confucianism to explicate everyday phenomena, but he is most convincing in political theory."--April Rabkin, Far Eastern Economic Review

"This is an informative and entertaining book on the problems and challenges of contemporary China. . . . [I]t is learned, sensible, and heartfelt."--On-cho Ng, Centre Daily Times

"China's New Confucianism stands out for not conforming to a preordained Western conceptual framework. The personal anecdotes are interesting and Bell displays cultural sensitivity throughout."--Lanxin Xiang, Survival

"By examining the challenges that arise as China adapts ancient values to contemporary society, China's New Confucianism enriches the dialogue of possibilities available to this rapidly evolving nation."--World Book Industry


"China's New Confucianism is a lively, informed, and very insightful look at modern China. Daniel A. Bell has an established reputation as an academic analyst. With this book he has accomplished something rarer and more impressive: combining his scholarship in an effortless way with keen observations of daily life, from the sports field to the karaoke bar to the classroom. He is the first to say that no one book, nor even a lifetime's experience, equips an observer to 'understand' China fully. But his book will give almost any reader a better understanding of the energy and contradictions of this country."--James Fallows, correspondent for Atlantic Monthly

"As the first Western scholar to become full-time faculty in political philosophy at one of China's most prestigious universities, Daniel Bell has a unique, insightful, and rich perspective on the Confucian values in contemporary Chinese politics and people's daily lives. The groundbreaking yet effective arguments in this book will elicit much discussion. I enthusiastically support and endorse this book without reservation."--Chen Lai, Peking University

"Daniel Bell is a Westerner who lives in China, speaks Chinese, and teaches in a Chinese university. He writes about his adopted country with exactly the right mix of appreciation and critical distance. His accounts of academic and domestic life, sex and sport, equality and hierarchy, and Marx and Confucius are, all of them, wonderfully illuminating."--Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study

"Daniel Bell has written a broadly accessible book that shows another side of the complex reality that is contemporary China. China's New Confucianism is a book that anyone with a deep interest in China can sink their teeth into, learn from, be challenged by, and thoroughly enjoy."--Stephen C. Angle, Wesleyan University

"Daniel Bell is without peer among contemporary political and social philosophers working on traditional and contemporary China. Full of insight, his new book will stimulate significant discussion. Blending theoretical sophistication, broad command of the best literature, keen observation of contemporary events, and candid personal anecdote, it deserves a great deal of attention, not only in Western countries, but throughout East Asia as well."--Philip J. Ivanhoe, City University of Hong Kong

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File created: 4/21/2017

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