Confuciamism: Classical, Neo- and "New"

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Confucianism’s relationship with politics began at its inception in the 6th Century BC, when Kongfuxi, a scholar living in the north of China, set out to end the chaos of his day by teaching the way of the ancients. Both as a social system and as a political ideology, Confucianism has been challenged and arguably subverted over the millennia, both by ancient religions such as Legalism, Buddhism, Daoism, Shinto and Shamanism and more recently by the modern ideologies of modernity, including communism, liberalism, democracy, nationalism and capitalism. It has survived by being so useful as a political tool that its rivals have accommodated it, but this has often come at the cost of creating tension between political Confucianism and Confucianism as a personal religion and a social force. At the opening of the 21st century, tensions between Confucianism and modernity seemed to be pushing political Confucianism into decline everywhere except in China itself, where its was being promoted by two successive presidents, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Yet even in China, the upward trajectory of political Confucianism has been deflected by the current president, Xi Jinping, leaving its future in doubt.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Religion and Politics
EditorsJeffrey Haynes
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis
Number of pages15
EditionThird Edition
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-24726-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-032-16148-8, 978-1-032-16150-1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Confucianism
  • Modernity
  • politics


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