Why Chinese “Society” is So Called: How Social and Managerial Discourse Caused the Choice of the Word at the Turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Introduction. The purpose of this article is to investigate the reasons for the choice of the term “shehui” to designate the concept of “society” in China at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The research novelty of the work is manifested in the complex analysis of social and managerial discourse of that time and in the identification of factors that influenced the terminological choice. The relevance of the study is conditioned by the necessity to understand the processes of formation of social sciences in China, which is important for the interpretation of modern socio-political processes in the country, including in the context of modern sociology of management. This is especially important for Russian sociology, since its area of interest includes the search for mutually beneficial strategies of interaction between Russian and Chinese societies. And this is impossible without studying China's approaches to managing the country's development processes, its internal and external social relations. Methodology and sources. The study applies a system-historical approach, as well as discursive, terminological, etymographic and factor analysis. The paper analyzes classical Chinese texts and works of Chinese enlighteners of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and also uses some materials collected by modern researchers, in particular, by N.M. Kalyuzhnaya. Results and discussion. The main results of the study were the identification and analysis of factors (including internal political, social, foreign policy and linguistic factors) that determined the social and managerial discourse of the period under study and the choice in favor of “shehui” among the main terms competing for the right to designate the concept of “society”. Author pointed out that the process of formation of social and managerial discourse was in line with the gradual decline in the influence of traditionalism and strengthening of the ideas of anti-monarchism, people's power and self-government. Conclusion. Author emphasized that the term “shehui” became one of the key terms in the social and managerial discourse of China at the turn of the century, reflecting global sociopolitical trends. The choice of this term is the result of a complex interaction of various factors in the formation of discursive practices, which themselves were further modified under the influence of the term and its derivatives.

Authors: Evgeny V. Kremnyov

Direction: Sociology

Keywords: China, society, social and managerial discourse, discursive practices, traditionalism, terminology

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