China in the Nineteenth Century: A New Cage Opens Up

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI:
China in the Nineteenth Century: A New Cage Opens Up

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The cultural upper class of Chinese civilization had been adhered to a medicine that owed its plausibility to the structures of the ancient unification of kingdoms for two millennia, from the first century bc to the nineteenth century. It equally owed its plausibility to the sociopolitical ideals of the Confucian and legalistic social philosophers. The ancient doctrines of social theory had become rigid over the centuries. The structures of the ancient empire were now dated. The empire faltered in the nineteenth and fell at the beginning of the twentieth century. Totally new ways of organizing social life were first promoted as ideals and later formed into reality. Customary medical thinking did not have a chance, even for short-term survival. A few insistent authors' verbose, anachronistic attempt to halt the threatening decline but in vain.

Keywords: Chinese civilization; medicine; unification of kingdoms; sociopolitical ideals; doctrines of social theory

Chapter.  553 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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