Political Culture and the Study of Chinese Politics

  • Peter R. Moody


Western studies of China have traditionally focused on Chinese culture (whence the term Sinology—implying that the study of China constituted a science or discipline in its own right). This approach became incorporated into the self-conscious movement toward a scientific method in political science, cresting in the generation following World War II, in the concept of political culture. Sinology assumes that China is sufficiently different from the “west” that it cannot be understood in terms assumed in the west. The concept of political culture is more universalistic, the product of an ambition to extend the scientific study of politics to the new political systems taking shape in the wake of decolonization. Political culture was especially a feature of modernization theory, a movement reflecting an intellectual interest in how societies change and develop but also more or less explicitly some of the political concerns of Cold War America (Westad 2005, 33–34).


Political System Rational Choice Chinese Culture Political Culture Cultural Explanation 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Notre DameSouth BendUSA

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