Chapter

“The Truths I Have Learned”: Nationalism, Family Reform, and Male Identity in China's New Culture Movement, 1915–1923

Susan L. Glosser

in Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780520211032
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935303 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520211032.003.0005
“The Truths I Have Learned”: Nationalism, Family Reform, and Male Identity in China's New Culture Movement, 1915–1923

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This chapter explains three major aspects—nationalism, family reform, and male identity—in the New Culture movement of China. With the advent of the New Culture Movement, many urban intellectuals began to question the Confucian principles that ordered family and society. In their attack on the Confucian family ideal, young men rejected the principles that made marriage a family concern. But at the same time, New Culture radicals assumed that marriage and family were central to the social and political order. In their eyes, marriage was an individual, but by no means a private, affair. The reshaping of the family was a first step in the process by which young men refashioned their economic, social, and political identities. Like the Qing elite before them, they believed that choosing the right wife was essential to their social position, a harmonious family, and worthy children. In fact, men wanted to reform the family system precisely because their marriages were still fundamental elements of their self-image and social standing.

Keywords: family reform; male identity; New Culture movement; Confucian family ideal; radicals

Chapter.  11640 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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