Confucian political philosophy and world order conceptions in 20th century China
Prof. Dr. Marc A. Matten, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Discussions of modernity in 20th century China emphasized – even before the impact of postcolonial theory – how elements of Chinese tradition have contributed to a specific form of modernity that does not necessarily imitate Western role models. The organization of international relations has been no exception. With regard to the integration of China into global society since the late imperial period, Chinese intellectuals have constantly been worrying of how to reconcile Western conceptions of world order with their own ones. Since the foundation of the Chinese Republic in 1912, the attitude of political thinkers towards the transformation from empire to the nation-state (as a prerequisite to become modern) has been considerably critical, and as a result Confucian political philosophy has played a far greater role in the pursuit of global peace and harmony than generally assumed in the existing studies on the history of international relations.