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Continuing Confucian Studies? The Individual Self, Sage Discourse, and Parental Authority

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Cultivating the Confucian Individual
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Abstract

This chapter continues to discuss the “re-embedding” dimension of the Confucian education revival by focusing on the second of the two typical options available for students’ education after their full-time study of the classics at Yiqian School: pursuing further Confucian studies at a recognized advanced Confucian academy. The findings of this chapter suggest that these Confucian students exhibit an individualistic outlook characterized by their personal aspirations, self-determination, independence, and self-pursuit, as well as a reluctance to pursue further Confucian studies. Their self-identity is further strengthened by resistance to the authoritarian discourse circulating in the domain of Confucian education and by a shifting relationship with imposed parental expectations. This chapter is concluded with the main argument that the development of Confucian individualism in students’ experience of learning the classics must be understood within the broader social contexts shaping Chinese individualisms and subjectivities.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Interview in June 2015.

  2. 2.

    Many Confucian education practitioners, including the older students at Yiqian School, referred to Caigui Wang as “Professor Wang” because he is a professor emeritus from a university in Taiwan.

  3. 3.

    Interview in May 2015.

  4. 4.

    Interview in June 2015.

  5. 5.

    It is worth noting that Boyue Academy was not the only place mentioned by students, their teachers, or parents. In my fieldwork, some participants mentioned alternative Confucian schools or academies as potential destinations for future study. Even so, they did not negate the authoritative status of Boyue Academy in the domain of Confucian classical education. Moreover, some parents disclosed their ultimate expectation that their children would study at Boyue Academy after a couple of years of classics study in other institutions.

  6. 6.

    Fieldnotes in May 2015.

  7. 7.

    Interview in June 2015.

  8. 8.

    Interview in July 2015.

  9. 9.

    Interview in August 2015.

  10. 10.

    Interview in August 2015.

  11. 11.

    Interview in May 2015.

  12. 12.

    Group discussion in May 2015.

  13. 13.

    Interview in July 2015.

  14. 14.

    Interview in July 2015.

  15. 15.

    Interview in June 2015.

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Wang, C. (2023). Continuing Confucian Studies? The Individual Self, Sage Discourse, and Parental Authority. In: Cultivating the Confucian Individual. Palgrave Studies on Chinese Education in a Global Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-27669-9_7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-27669-9_7

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