1st Edition

The Rise of Confucian Citizens in China Theoretical Reflections and Empirical Explorations

By Canglong Wang Copyright 2024
    176 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the relationship between Confucianism and citizenship and the rise of Confucian citizens in contemporary China.

    Combining theoretical and empirical approaches to the topic, the book constructs new frameworks to examine the nuances and complexities of Confucianism and citizenship, exploring the process of citizen-making through Confucian education. By re-evaluating the concept of citizenship as a Western construct and therefore challenging the popular characterization of Confucianism and citizenship as incompatible, this book posits that a new type of citizen, the Confucian citizen, is on the rise in 21st-century China.

    The book’s clear, accessible style makes it essential reading for students and scholars interested in citizenship, Confucianism and Chinese studies, and those with an interest in religion and philosophy more generally.

    Introduction: Chinese citizenship, Confucianism, and the Confucian education revival  Part 1: Confucianism and Citizenship revisited: Theoretical Reflections  1. Confucianism and Citizenship: A Review of Opposing Conceptualizations  2. Civic Politics and Moral Cultivation: Comparing Confucian Junzi with Modern Citizens  3. Towards the Junzi-Style Citizen: Moralizing Citizens Through Confucianism  Part 2: Cultivating the Confucian Citizen: Empirical Explorations  4. Confucian Identity, Rights, Righteousness, and Acts of Citizenship: Examining Civic Elements in Confucian Activists’ Engagement in Dujing (Classics Reading) Education  5. Discursive, Practical, and Institutional Paradoxes: Cultivating Students to Become Confucian Cultural Citizens Through Reading the Classics  6. Between Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism: Educating the Cosmopolitan Citizen in Confucian Education


    Canglong Wang is a Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Hull. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Edinburgh in 2019. His research extensively explores the cultural, social, and political implications of the revival of Confucian education in contemporary China. He has a persistent research interest in the topic of Confucianism and citizenship in China. His work has appeared in many leading journals and edited volumes. He is the author of Cultivating the Confucian Individual: The Confucian Education Revival in China (2023). He can be contacted via email at [email protected] or [email protected].


    The Rise of Confucian Citizens in China explores key questions: How have Confucianism and citizenship, which are often perceived as contrasting traditions, coexisted in China over the past century? What new insights have emerged from their coexistence? This work offers persuasive answers, exploring the extent of compatibility between Confucianism and citizenship, the mechanisms facilitating this compatibility, and the outcomes of their integration. It not only provides fresh perspectives for the study of China’s politics, but also introduces novel considerations for the broader examination of citizenship."

    Zhonghua GuoProfessor of Political Science at Nanjing University, China.

    "Confucianism, with its emphasis on responsibilities rather than rights, seems to be incompatible with citizenship. This thought-provoking book argues otherwise. At the level of theory, Confucian ideals can enrich the concept of citizenship and Confucian-style education in China shows how this might be done in practice."

    Daniel A. Bell, Chair Professor of Political Theory at the University of Hong Kong.