Moral Education and Ideology: The Revival of Confucian Values and the Harmonious Shaping of the New Chinese Man
In this paper, we will investigate the re-emergence of Confucianism in contemporary China as a complex intersection of political, cultural, educational and popular perspectives. This resurgence is neither a kind of Chinese Neoclassicism nor a nostalgic backwardness, instead it is the emblem of the new China’s identity. Confucius and Confucianism, violently despised as the remains of feudalism since the May Fourth Movement and during Maoism, are nowadays a fertile source for the fulfilment of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” (zhongguo tese shehui zhuyi 中国特色社会主义) on both the educational and political levels. We carry out the investigation in three steps: 1. The political rehabilitation of Confucianism as part of the “Chinese dream” (zhongguo meng 中国梦); 2. The common social perception of Confucianism and tradition as a shared and unavoidable background; 3. The definition of two possible Confucianisms (namely New Confucianism and Political Confucianism) and their possible influences on Chinese society and moral education. Our conclusions will deal with Chinese cultural soft power, and the shaping of a new Confucian identity based on both modernity and tradition.
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