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Developmental Idealism in China

Publication Abstract

Thornton, Arland, and Yu Xie. 2016. "Developmental Idealism in China." Chinese Journal of Sociology, 2(4): 483-496.

This paper examines the intersection of developmental idealism with China. It discusses how developmental idealism has been widely disseminated within China and has had enormous effects on public policy and programs, on social institutions, and on the lives of individuals and their families. This dissemination of developmental idealism to China began in the 19th century, when China met with several military defeats that led many in the country to question the place of China in the world. By the beginning of the 20th century, substantial numbers of Chinese had reacted to the country's defeats by exploring developmental idealism as a route to independence, international respect, and prosperity. Then, with important but brief aberrations, the country began to implement many of the elements of developmental idealism, a movement that became especially important following the assumption of power by the Communist Party of China in 1949. This movement has played a substantial role in politics, in the economy, and in family life. The beliefs and values of developmental idealism have also been directly disseminated to the grassroots in China, where substantial majorities of Chinese citizens have assimilated them. These ideas are both known and endorsed by very large numbers in China today.

DOI:10.1177/2057150X16670835 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC5351808. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: China.

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