CONTACT US Wed Nov. 13, 2013

CASS 中国社会科学网(中文) Français


A cross-cultural study of Chinese traditional society

Author  :  LI MIN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2023-02-24

Ten Lectures of Cross-Cultural Social Studies

Ten Lectures of Cross-Cultural Social Studies, by Dong Xiaoping, dean and professor from the College of Transcultural Studies at Beijing Normal University, presents dialogues with overseas sinologists on issues related to Chinese culture.

The author positions the study within disciplinary history and case history, reviewing the use value of data from three perspectives. The first is to interpret the familiar social historical materials from a cross-cultural perspective, observing the narrative strategies of different cultures and shared cultures. The second is to make comprehensive use of previously classified Chinese social research literature and overseas sinology literature. The third is to study the mutual understanding, mutual reference, and interaction among diverse cultures, exploring the possibility of contact, confrontation, correlation, and exchange among cultures.

For instance, given a great deal of domestic and international research on Yili [Ceromonies and Rites], Dong proceeds from the relationship between Yili and folk custom. The author clarifies the internal discourse formed by the inheritance and development of traditional Chinese studies and modern humanities, as well as the external discourse formed by the research of Benjamin I. Schwartz, Jacques Gernet, and other European and American sinologists on Yili and related traditional documents, attempting to offer new ideas for traditional Chinese studies in the new era.

In the chapter of “The Economy and Culture of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses,” the author analyzes the research cases of the Chinese time-honored brand Chengwenhou based on views proposed by American scholar Joseph Alois Schumpeter in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, arguing that as early as in the 1930s and 1940s, a host of famous businessmen had appeared with their folk identities in big cities such as Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing. They struggled in big cities with certain international backgrounds until establishing famous business brands in the early days of the PRC. Western economic circles once regarded family business traditions as a negative factor. However, in China’s social operation, the success of small and medium-sized businesses stems not from the fact that they set modern business experience and traditional culture against each other, but that they combine them organically. In the difficult period of war and social changes, they demonstrated indomitable struggles and sought business opportunities to adapt to the needs of modern society by learning modern knowledge and innovating. They established stable social relations by relying on human nature and humanistic culture without completely counting on the government to mitigate corporate ups and downs. They represent a cultural mindset of refusing to give up, which should not be ignored in today’s discussions on the development of industrial and commercial enterprises.


Li Min is a professor from the School of Chinese Language and Literature at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Editor: Yang Lanlan

>> View All

Ye Shengtao made Chinese fairy tales from a wilderness

Ye Shengtao (1894–1988) created the first collection of fairy tales in the history of Chinese children’s literature...

>> View All