Chinese Art and Its Impact on the West

Paul S. Ropp

in Heritage of China

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 1990 | ISBN: 9780520064409
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520908932 | DOI:
Chinese Art and Its Impact on the West

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This chapter investigates modern Chinese social history in a comparative light. It suggests some hypotheses about what changed and what did not change in the past 500 years of Chinese history. It presents some thoughts about how this process of change is comparable to the Western experience and how it is unique. It mentions some preconditions and shows why the sixteenth century constitutes a useful point of departure for surveying the emergence of modern Chinese society. One key factor that promoted merchant self-government was the inadequacy or temporary withdrawal of an effective regular bureaucratic administration. The rise of capitalism and of the state may be useful in interpreting modern Chinese social history. In Europe, the rise of capitalism and the modern state were very nearly synchronic, whereas in China the expansion of the state lagged by perhaps as much as three centuries behind the appearance of capitalism.

Keywords: Chinese social history; capitalism; state; Europe; China; bureaucratic administration

Chapter.  7352 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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