International Communication of Chinese Culture

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 427–442 | Cite as

Towards Confucian communalism: a match made in heaven?

  • Jyrki KallioEmail author


This paper discusses the efforts of Chinese rulers to create sanitized forms of Confucianism in order to bolster ideological orthodoxy, and counter-reactions within the intelligentsia and civil society to these efforts. This paper looks at the thoughts of some Chinese scholars in both the imperial and contemporary era who have opposed the kind of spiritual centralism, or orthodoxy, with which the rulers have aimed to reinforce concrete centralism. It also seeks to draw a parallel between contemporary academic discussion on some recently unearthed texts and between-the-lines criticism in one classical prose anthology during the late imperial era as forms of grass-roots level dissidence which could escape the attention of the censorship machinery. Furthermore, this paper compares the calls for localism by Confucian scholars in the imperial era with the ideas of modern promoters of communalism (also known as libertarian municipalism), which, as a theory of government, refers to a federation of autonomous units of local rule. This discussion is related to the wider debate about the relationship between Confucianism and democracy.


Confucianism Communalism Communitarianism Guwen guanzhi Tianxia Fengjian 


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Copyright information

© Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Finnish Institute of International AffairsHelsinkiFinland

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