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Ritual, dependency care and Confucian political authority

Abstract

In this paper I intend to argue that the liberal democratic model of individual rights and limited government that has carried us this far is no longer conceptually adequate to carry us forward into this interdependent and globalized world where emerging environmental/economic/social/political problems oftentimes crisscross multiple personal, social, legal, cultural, geographical, and national boundaries. We need a different kind of political paradigm that addresses, first and foremost, the inevitability of dependency by grounding the state authority in its capacity to care for the most socially vulnerable instead of relegating the responsibility of caring for the dependent to the private/personal realm (and conventionally women’s realm); secondly, we need a political theory that doesn’t narrowly focus on defending the negative liberty of the selfreliant individual instead of providing an enduring social mechanism to render the self ever more porous to others so that complex and globalized problems can get addressed and solved. In sum, a modern democratic liberal state infused with Confucian emphasis on ritual to ensure social/political cohesion and its political imperative to care for the socially vulnerable is the proper way for us to move forward into the ever more caring, progressive, and inclusive future for humanity.

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Rosenlee, LH.L. Ritual, dependency care and Confucian political authority. Int. Commun. Chin. Cult 4, 493–513 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40636-017-0107-0

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Keywords

  • Dependency care
  • Ritual
  • Confucianism
  • Political authority