Confucian Democracy in East Asia: Theory and Practice

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9781107641211: Confucian Democracy in East Asia: Theory and Practice

This book explores a mode of democracy that is culturally relevant and socially practicable in the contemporary pluralistic context of historically Confucian East Asian societies, by critically engaging with the two most dominant theories of Confucian democracy - Confucian communitarianism and meritocratic elitism. The book constructs a mode of public reason (and reasoning) that is morally palatable to East Asians who are still saturated in Confucian customs by reappropriating Confucian familialism, and using this perspective to theorize on Confucian democratic welfarism and political meritocracy. It then applies the theory of Confucian democracy to South Korea, arguably the most Confucianized society in East Asia, and examines the theory's practicality in Korea's increasingly individualized, pluralized, and multicultural society by looking at cases of freedom of expression, freedom of association, insult law, and immigration policy.

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Book Description:

Confucian Democracy in East Asia explores a mode of democracy that is culturally relevant and socially practicable in the contemporary context of historically Confucian East Asian societies. It argues that a Western-style liberal democracy, predicated on liberal individualism, is not suitable for East Asians who, despite their pluralist values, are still broadly saturated with Confucian habits and mores. Instead, a more suitable mode of democracy in East Asia must be premised on Confucian-based reasoning.

About the Author:

Sungmoon Kim is an Associate Professor of Political Theory at City University of Hong Kong. He received his PhD in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park and previously taught at the University of Richmond. His research interests include comparative political theory, democratic theory, and history of East Asian political thought.

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