Face and morality in Confucian society

Kwang-Kuo Hwang and Kuei-Hsiang Han

in Oxford Handbook of Chinese Psychology

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199541850
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Face and morality in Confucian society

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This article explains the various aspects and characteristics of the concept of face and morality in Confucian society. The vocabularies for describing Chinese usage of face can be divided into two broad categories, namely moral face and social face. Both are related to Confucian concepts of morality. It analyzes the relevant features of Confucian morality and discusses it from three different ethical perspectives. The article uses the thus obtained conceptual framework to explain the commonality in findings from two separate empirical studies on episodes of losing face conducted in Taiwan and mainland China. In Confucian society, not only do protective face and acquisitive face constitute significant orientations of personality, but such indigenous concepts as zuo mianzi (making face) and zheng mianzi (keeping up face) may also have important psychological implications.

Keywords: Confucian society; concepts of face; morality; Confucian ethics; psychosociogram

Article.  12415 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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