Political Sociology: A Reader

By S. N. Eisenstadt | Go to book overview
portents in vain. Moreover, beginning last month and continuing without abatement until now, an epidemic has been rife in the capital. Truly, though we be of tender years, we are filled with deepest dread and apprehension. By the Empresses Dowager we have been instructed that these warnings, transmitted by Heaven to man, are surely indicative of present deficiencies in our conduct of government...." Cf. also the penitential edict of the Kuang-hsü Emperor, issued February 14, 1901, after the disastrous Boxer Rebellion, in which he says that he and the Empress Dowager had wished to commit suicide at the time of their flight from Peking in order to "offer atonement to the spirits of our imperial ancestors." For texts of these edicts, see the Ta‐ Ch'ing Li-ch'ao Shih-lu (Veritable Records of the Great Ch'ing Dynasty for Successive Reigns) [Tokyo, 1937], Mutsung Sect., chüan 35, pp. 33b-34b, and Te-tsung Sect., chüan 477, pp. 13a-16b; English paraphrases in J. O. P. Bland and E. Backhouse, China under the Empress Dowager (London, 1910), pp. 486 and 376-381 respectively (where the dates are inexactly given as 1861 and February 13, 1901). I am much indebted to Mr. Joseph Wang, of the Division of Orientalia, Library of Congress, for kindly locating these edicts in the Library's copy of the Shih-lu, and copying them for me.
Mencius, esp. Ib, 6 and 8; Va, 5-6; Vb, 9; VIIa, 31; VIIb, 14.
Typical of this point of view is the account in Appendix III, passim, of the Book of Changes, describing how the ancient sages, basing themselves on their examination of natural phenomena, created the eight trigrams and sixty‐ four hexagrams as graphic symbols of these phenomena, and then proceeded from these symbols to get the ideas of inventing plows, boats, bows and arrows, houses, and other artifacts of civilization. Cf. transl. of Legge in Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XVI (Oxford, 2nd ed., 1899), esp. pp. 353-354, 360-361, 371-374, 377-378, 382-385.
For a detailed survey of this world view, which became the dominant one in later Chinese philosophy, see the writer's "Harmony and Conflict in Chinese Philosophy," in Arthur F. Wright, ed., Studies in Chinese Thought (University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 19-80. It should be stressed that this was the world view of philosophical sophisticates, not necessarily shared by all non-philosophical writers. Even among later philosophical writers themselves, in fact, throw‐ backs to the earlier, more personalistic ways of thinking can sometimes be found. A good example is Tung Chung-shu (179?-104? B.C.). Cf. ibid., pp. 43-44, 71.
Cf. the Tso Chuan (Legge, Chinese Classics, V [Hong‐ kong, 1872], pp. 609, 732, 772). The codes of 536 and 501, belonging to the state of Cheng, were inscribed on bronze vessels and bamboo tablets respectively; that of 513, belonging to the state of Chin, was inscribed on iron tripods.
J. J. L. Duyvendak, The Book of Lord Shang (London, 1928), pp. 128-129. This is not to deny, of course, that there have been numerous and bulky law codes in later China. They were, however, primarily penal, and played a much less prominent role in Chinese life than that held by law in the West. Professional lawyers, for example, were virtually non‐ existent in China prior to recent times. For a comprehensive discussion of Chinese law, see Jean Escarra, Le droit chinois (Peiping, 1936).
The word "partial" in the preceding sentence deserves stress, in that the Chinese Communists, unlike the Confucianists, not only explicitly advocate, but even insist on, the active participation of the common man in public affairs. Granted that such participation is usually confined to local matters, and is carefully guided from above along lines which severely limit its scope and freedom, it has nevertheless given to many Chinese a hitherto unknown feeling that they have a necessary and appreciated public role to play. Illustrative of the differing Confucian and Communist attitudes toward the people is the Communist slogan, made with regard to their army, that "the soldiers are fish and the people water," as contrasted with the orthodox statement of the Confucian, Hsün Tzu (ca. 298-ca. 238 B.C.), that "the people are the water and the ruler is the boat; the water can support the boat but it can also sink it." Cf. John K. Fairbank, The United States and China (Harvard University Press, 1948), p. 205.
This thesis is developed with great skill, though sometimes to excess and with over ingenuity, by C. P. Fitzgerald in his Revolution in China (New York, 1952).

The Conception of Kingship in Ancient India

Louis Dumont

Comparative Significance of the Fact

The complex and characteristic relation between priesthood and kingship, Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, is fundamental in itself and in its implications, and a brief reflection will be useful for locating it in a comparative perspective. The fact has surprised

modern authors, most of whom, without conceiving it clearly, have tried to explain it as the result of a hypothetical struggle between the two classes, and have interpreted in that sense certain legends to which we shall turn hereafter. They have written of a struggle for the first rank (Lassen), or for "the presidency, even spiritual" of the society (Dumézil), or, conversely, of a struggle for "practical power" (Vedic Index). They are not all of one mind; however, among the different tendencies, one is the persistent rationalist and "anticlerical" mentality accord

From Louis Dumont, "The Conception of Kingship in Ancient India," in Louis Dumont and D. Pocock, eds., Contributions to Indian Sociology (The Hague: Mouton; Paris: Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes; December 1962), VI, 53-56, 75-77.


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