A Historical Perspective on Sociology and Chinese-Style Modernization

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No. 3, 2022


A Historical Perspective on Sociology and Chinese-Style Modernization



Ying Xing


In the examination of Chinese-style modernization, the historical perspective is of fundamental significance. “Modernization” means the historical course from tradition to modernity, which in the case of Chinese-style modernization, shows a particularly close connection between the two. Chinese traditions, such as Confucian ethics, civil-military relations, central-local relations, and the primacy of one’s native place have significantly affected the development of Chinese modernization. In addition, population, space, diverse ethnic groups, and other historical conditions have constituted the premise for Chinese-style modernization. The Communist Party-led revolutionary movement laid the social and political foundations for the path to socialist modernization from 1949 on. In a variety of ways, different historical factors have been integrated into the course of Chinese modernization. The changes leading to what we call “the early modern world,” which started from the Song dynasty, coupled with the great transformations spanning the centuries from the 1790s to 1949, reveal the protracted, arduous and complex nature of the Chinese transition and transformation from tradition to modernity. In sociology, the historical perspective can afford a unique insight into this process of connection, integration, transition and transformation.