This article critiques the meritocratic justification of Confucian democracy from the standpoint of democratic civil society by shifting the focus from governability of the people to their transformability. Its central claims are: (1) Confucian virtue politics (dezhi) can be creatively re-appropriated in a democratic civil society in terms of cultivating civility in ordinary people who belong to different moral communities; (2) in the modern East Asian social context, the Confucian ideal of benevolent government (ren zheng) can be attained better by the victims of socio-economic injustice contesting it democratically in the public space of civil society than by 'thin' democracy controlled by meritocratic elitism. 'Confucian civil society' operating on Confucian ritually mediated civility is an alternative to meritocratic elitism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science