Merchants and Society in Modern China : From Guild to Chamber of Commerce book cover
1st Edition

Merchants and Society in Modern China
From Guild to Chamber of Commerce

ISBN 9780367593575
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
200 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $48.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, merchants in China were incorporated into the bourgeoisie and constituted a vital part of the upstart capitalists. The lowermost class in ancient China’s social hierarchy has thus become a strong force of social transformation in the modern era.

From the angle of the interaction between the merchant and modern society, this book examines the factors behind the rise of the merchant class in China, in terms of its cultural traits, inner structure, and business modes. First, it analyzes the features and historical standings of merchant culture which came into existence on the basis of reworking and integrating Neo-Confucianism. It argues that merchant culture pushed China’s early enlightenment movement to a new level. Then the rise of the bourgeoisie and their role in the evolution of modern Chinese society are studied thoroughly. More importantly, by examining the "golden age" of the merchant after the 1911 Revolution and its end brought by the Northern Expedition, this book studies the dilemmas faced by Chinese merchants. Finally, it probes into the reasons why it was hard for China to go beyond modern society, that is, completing the transition from commodity economy to capitalist economy.

This book will deepen the understanding of China’s merchant class and modern Chinese society. Scholars and students in economics, history, sociology, and cultural studies will be attracted by it.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations.  Preface  Chapter One: The Merchant Culture  Chapter Two: The Integration of the Merchant in the Late Modern Times and the Rise of the Bourgeoisie  Chapter Three: The Merchant’s Role in the Evolution of Modern Society  Chapter Four: Caught in Modern Society  Bibliography.  Index

View More



Tang Lixing is a professor in the College of Humanities and Communications, Shanghai Normal University. His research focuses on Chinese social and business history.