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Beyond Liberal Democracy:
Political Thinking for an East Asian Context
Daniel A. Bell

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2007

Paperback | 2006 | $35.00 / £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691123080
400 pp. | 6 x 9 | Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400827466 |
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Is liberal democracy appropriate for East Asia? In this provocative book, Daniel Bell argues for morally legitimate alternatives to Western-style liberal democracy in the region. Beyond Liberal Democracy, which continues the author's influential earlier work, is divided into three parts that correspond to the three main hallmarks of liberal democracy--human rights, democracy, and capitalism. These features have been modified substantially during their transmission to East Asian societies that have been shaped by nonliberal practices and values. Bell points to the dangers of implementing Western-style models and proposes alternative justifications and practices that may be more appropriate for East Asian societies.

If human rights, democracy, and capitalism are to take root and produce beneficial outcomes in East Asia, Bell argues, they must be adjusted to contemporary East Asian political and economic realities and to the values of nonliberal East Asian political traditions such as Confucianism and Legalism. Local knowledge is therefore essential for realistic and morally informed contributions to debates on political reform in the region, as well as for mutual learning and enrichment of political theories.

Beyond Liberal Democracy is indispensable reading for students and scholars of political theory, Asian studies, and human rights, as well as anyone concerned about China's political and economic future and how Western governments and organizations should engage with China.

Review:

"Beyond Liberal Democracy is an intensely personal engagement with the author's experiences of Western liberal political ideas in an Asian context. . . . Mr. Bell . . . is a provocative thinker. He is also refreshingly candid. . . . [T]he result is an important contribution to the debate about liberal democracy in Asia."--David Plott, Far Eastern Economic Review

"This work is a culmination of at least a decade of thinking and writing by a scholar who has observed closely the many intellectually significant issues that have arisen from political development in East Asian societies. . . . [T]he elegant narrative form in which Beyond Liberal Democracy is written makes for an interesting and timely piece of scholarship that should attract a wide readership."--Surain Subramaniam, Contemporary Southeast Asia

"“In this engaging, provocative exploration of the intersection between East Asian values and Western liberalism, Bell challenges readers to take seriously the unique contributions of Confucianism and other Eastern traditions to 21st-century political theory and practice. . . . This book is an important contribution to the East-West dialogues of political theorists, activists, and politicians, and sets a high standard for subsequent forays into this field."--Choice

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