Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar: Conflicting, Competing and Ambiguous Values in Contemporary Chinese Society

Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar: Conflicting, Competing and Ambiguous Values in Contemporary Chinese Society
Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar: Conflicting, Competing and Ambiguous Values in Contemporary Chinese Society

Principal speaker

Adjunct Professor David Schak

In societies with a Great Tradition, the values they claim serve as the quintessential definitions of their cultures. Included values are positive and almost always moral, and they are purported to describe the behaviour of members of those societies. Investigation of values by social scientists also frequently focus on positive and/or moral principles in studies of the value systems of various societies. There are two problems with such approaches. First, since values lie at the base of and inform behaviour, they cannot account for conduct that does not conform with the values. Second, they do not recognise conflicting or competing values. The purpose of this paper is to identify some values in Chinese culture that are not part of the Chinese Great Tradition virtues and discuss the behaviour that they engender.

David Schak is an adjunct Associate Professor in the Griffith Asia Institute. Trained in anthropology at UC-Berkeley (Ph.D. 1973), he has researched and published on a variety of issues in Chinese/Taiwanese society including courtship and marriage, family relationships, poverty, beggars, Taiwanese business culture and management methods, civil society, and Taiwan Buddhism. His forthcoming book, Civility and its Development: The Experiences of China and Taiwan, will be published this year by Hong Kong University Press.


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