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A question concerning subject in The Spirit of Chinese Capitalism

A question concerning subject in The Spirit of Chinese Capitalism Purpose – Recognising interest in the nascent “rise of China”, the purpose of this paper is to engage with the normative social science approach to comparative management, positing that it is inadequate for an enlightened view of the Chinese subject. Design/methodology/approach – This paper presents a critical appraisal of extant literature, specifically Redding's The Spirit of Chinese Capitalism , by drawing resources from Fabian's epistemological critique of anthropology and Levinas' ethics to replace ontology as first philosophy, and by reference to historical studies on China's economic culture and its language. Findings – Attention is drawn to how Redding's research subject is made an object of knowledge. In the objectification process, the subject's continuity is interrupted, its voice deprived, and its capacity for dialogue denied. This is evident in Redding's framework for analysis. Indeed, his Weberian social science template manifests a certain “imperialism of the same” and is symptomatic of much in comparative management regarding non‐western subjects. After critique, this essay then explores a supplement to Redding. Practical implications – The paper proposes three principles for finding one's way out of objectification: ethics before “knowledge”, justice before “power”, and dialogue before “vision”. Originality/value – The paper contributes to discourse on how comparative management must transcend its imperial social science legacy before it can find a just footing, and be born again. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png critical perspectives on international business Emerald Publishing

A question concerning subject in The Spirit of Chinese Capitalism

critical perspectives on international business , Volume 4 (2/3): 35 – May 2, 2008

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1742-2043
DOI
10.1108/17422040810870015
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Recognising interest in the nascent “rise of China”, the purpose of this paper is to engage with the normative social science approach to comparative management, positing that it is inadequate for an enlightened view of the Chinese subject. Design/methodology/approach – This paper presents a critical appraisal of extant literature, specifically Redding's The Spirit of Chinese Capitalism , by drawing resources from Fabian's epistemological critique of anthropology and Levinas' ethics to replace ontology as first philosophy, and by reference to historical studies on China's economic culture and its language. Findings – Attention is drawn to how Redding's research subject is made an object of knowledge. In the objectification process, the subject's continuity is interrupted, its voice deprived, and its capacity for dialogue denied. This is evident in Redding's framework for analysis. Indeed, his Weberian social science template manifests a certain “imperialism of the same” and is symptomatic of much in comparative management regarding non‐western subjects. After critique, this essay then explores a supplement to Redding. Practical implications – The paper proposes three principles for finding one's way out of objectification: ethics before “knowledge”, justice before “power”, and dialogue before “vision”. Originality/value – The paper contributes to discourse on how comparative management must transcend its imperial social science legacy before it can find a just footing, and be born again.

Journal

critical perspectives on international businessEmerald Publishing

Published: May 2, 2008

Keywords: China; National cultures; Ethics; National economy

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