Comparative political theory has grown into a recognized discipline in its own right in the last two decades. Yet little has been done to explore how political theory engages with the actual social, legal, and political reality of a particular polity. East Asians are complexly conditioned by traditional Confucian norms and habits, despite significant social, economic, and political changes in their contemporary lives. This volume seeks to address this important issue by developing a specifically Confucian political and legal theory.
The volume focuses on South Korea, whose traditional society was and remains the most Confucianized among pre-modern East Asian countries. It offers an interesting case for thinking about Confucian democracy and constitutionalism because its liberal-democratic institutions are compatible with and profoundly influenced by the Confucian habit of the heart. The book wrestles with the practical meaning of liberal rights under the Korean Confucian societal culture and illuminates a way in which traditional Confucianism can be transformed through legal and political processes into a new Confucianism relevant to democratic practices in contemporary Korea.
Introduction, Sungmoon Kim / Part I: In Search of Confucian Constitutionalism in the Korean Context / 1. Conceptualizing Korean Constitutionalism: Foreign Transplant or Indigenous Tradition?, Chaihark Hahm / 2. Confucianism that Confounds: Constitutional Jurisprudence on Filial Piety in Korea, Marie Seong-Hak Kim / 3. Locating Feminism beyond Gender and Culture: A Case of the Family-Head System in South Korea, Hee-Kang Kim / 4 Civil Confucianism in South Korea: Liberal Rights, Confucian Reasoning, and Gender Equality, Sungmoon Kim / Part II: Liberalism, Democracy, and Confucianism—Doubts and Hopes / 5. Qualitative Defects of Korean Constitutional Democracy and Political Rationalism as a Confucian Legacy, Bi Hwan Kim / 6. Confucianism and the Meaning of Liberalism in the Contemporary Korean Legal System, Junghoon Lee / 7. Confucius for Our time: Reflections on Politics, Law, and Ethics, Fred Dallmayr / Part III: Epilogue / 8. On Confucian Constitutionalism in Korea: A Metacommentary, Hwa Yol Jung / Acknowledgments / Contributors / Index
This theoretically sophisticated volume marks a significant advance in our understanding of the interplay between Confucian and constitutional discourses. The contributions are both focused and varied, with a richness that befits the traditions under examination, and demonstrate the power of theorizing from East Asia.
This ground breaking volume addresses one of the most important questions of our time: what is—or might be—the contemporary relevance of Confucianism? Rich, learned, and impressive, the essays it contains greatly expand our understanding of the promise and the pitfalls of contemporary applications of this ancient philosophy.
Sungmoon Kim is Associate Professor of Political Theory at City University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Confucian Democracy in East Asia: Theory and Practice (2014).
Fred Dallmayr, Packey J Dee Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Political Science, University of Notre Dame; Chaihark Hahm, Professor of Law, Yonsei University; Hwa Yol Jung, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Moravian College; Bi Hwan Kim, Professor of Political Theory, Sungkyunkwan University; Hee-Kang Kim, Associate Professor of the Department of Public Administration, Korea University; Marie Seong-Hak Kim, Professor of History, St. Cloud State University; Sungmoon Kim, Associate Professor of Political Theory, City University of Hong Kong; Junghoon Lee, Associate Professor of Jurisprudence and Legal History, University of Ulsan.