Rethinking Max Weber’s Study of Chinese Religions in a Modern Scope

Title: Rethinking Max Weber’s Study of Chinese Religions in a Modern Scope
Authors: Yu, Zhinan
Date: 2019
Abstract: On November 11, 2018, China’s annual online shopping festival Singles’ Day hit 213.5 billion RMB (approximately 30.8 billion USD) in sales within 24 hours (Chong, 2018), increasing by 27% compared to 2017 (Davidson, 2018). This whopping number is much bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined (Chong, 2018). On a worldwide scale, Singles’ Day can be seen as the biggest capitalistic event that happened online; however, to witness the upheaval of Singles’ Day was an illusion tracking back to Max Weber’s time during the 1910s. In the book The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism that was published in 1915, Weber asserted that capitalism cannot grow in China due to its irrational religious ethics. Taking on this conflict, a review of Weber’s studies on Chinese religions will be drawn into account to evaluate Weber’s findings’ in a modern scope through an examination of “ideal types” of three dominant religions in China including Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. The discussion will be guided by the research question: Do Weber’s studies of religious ethics of Chinese religions still apply in modern China after the 20th century? Document analysis will be employed as the research method to help unpack issues we encounter by following this research question as it pertains to Weber’s book The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism. Keywords: Max Weber; Chinese religions; religious ethics; modern capitalism, Confucianism; Taoism; Buddhism; ideal types
CollectionCommunication - Mémoires // Communication - Research Papers