Work-in-Progress Session: "Confucian Thought and Alternative to Democracy - Political Elites and Bureaucratic Hierarchy in Early Chinese Empires"


“Confucian Thought and Alternatives to Democracy: Political Elites and Bureaucratic Hierarchy in Early Chinese Empires”

China’s rapid development in the past forty years has led political scientists to reflect on the “China model.” One group of scholars labels the China model as a meritocracy, an alternative to Western democracy that, they claim, is influenced by Confucianism and has deep roots in the Chinese Imperial Examination system. This is a misreading of history. My new book manuscript contends that using bureaucrats who are subject to a rigid hierarchical system to lead the country—the China model—is exactly the political system that Confucians fiercely attacked and successfully changed.

Work-in-progress sessions are designed to generate in-depth discussion of new scholarly work. For the pre-circulated paper and to attend, register with


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