Academic Nationalism in China and Japan: Framed in Concepts by Margar Sleeboom

By Margar Sleeboom

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Additional resources for Academic Nationalism in China and Japan: Framed in Concepts of Nature, Culture and the Universal (Nissan Institute Routledge Japanese Studies Series)

Example text

In short, this book identifies and compares theories that make a dogmatic and systematic use of the nation as a framework of analysis in academic research and to the unreflective application of dualistic notions of Eastern and Western identities. I refer to such practices of biased identity construction as framing the nation. The way academic theory categorizes and delineates identities I call academic grouping. Examples of academic grouping from east Asia illustrate that the bias of framing research problems around the unit Table 1 Group categories in nation-centred thought Markers Boundaries Social division Approach Naturist Culturist Globalist Rigid High Absolute Synthetic Flexible Perforated Conditional Hermeneutic Ambiguous Hidden Functional Objectivist Introduction 15 of the nation is not confined to ‘the West’, though the examples in no way can be regarded as representative for social science research in east Asia.

Yet, academic definitions of national identity tend to link the concepts of nation and state together by discussing the nation-state in terms of its legitimizing national roots in state territory and use essentialist criteria for defining national identity, such as a common language, ethnic or racial origin and political culture. Despite its relevance to interest groups in general, the politics of defining the nation in academic research, and the consequences of using certain definitions of the nation-state, rather than that of others, have not received much attention in debates around nationalism and in the social sciences in general.

In China, however, feudalism strongly took root so that it could not easily transform into capitalism. But when it took its first steps, it found its way to socialism in one giant leap. Unfortunately, Hu argues, not all concepts of the feudal patriarchal tradition have disappeared with the momentum of the leap. For that reason, it is necessary for a healthy socialism to be established soon. Although the democratic rights of the people have been guaranteed, Hu argues, there are still people who use the Confucian classics to twist the meaning and significance of Marxism, and then misapply it to China’s national situation (quoqing).

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