Lutheranism and Confucianism Between National Education and Globalization: A Theoretical Discussion

  • Mette BuchardtEmail author
  • Xiangyun Du
Part of the Palgrave Studies on Chinese Education in a Global Perspective book series (CEGP)


Lutheran Christianity and Confucian Philosophy share a premise: As schools of thoughts and systems of mentality, they seek to teach respect of governing authorities, while at the same time teaching personal moral and work ethics. In Nordic states such as Denmark, as well as in the People’s Republic of China, respectively Lutheran Christianity and Confucian Philosophy as systems of mentality have played a central role in the development of educational bodies and national education systems. The question is, however, which role and to which extent and not least: What are the preconditions for exploring this role? This chapter explores and discusses how such phenomena which are often characterized as religious can form part of comparative educational analysis. Examining the presence of Christian-Lutheran and Confucian heritages and pasts in recent educational politics, the chapter discusses the theoretical history of such ideas, more specifically how twentieth century sociology and organizational theory have dealt with the two phenomena in question, namely to understand them as part of economy and development rather than as religions. From that basis, the chapter provides examples of how Lutheranism and Confucianism were used in nation-state building in the two countries in the late nineteenth century. In light of this the chapter concludes that an exploration of the significance of the two systems in question should be aware of their role, not as religious systems, but as national answers to the challenges of economic and cultural globalization.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Education Policy Research, Aalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  2. 2.College of EducationQatar UniversityDohaQatar

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