Where does guanxi come from? Bao, shu, and renqing in Chinese connections

Journal article


Barbalet, Jack. (2021). Where does guanxi come from? Bao, shu, and renqing in Chinese connections. Asian Journal of Social Science. 49(1), pp. 31-37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajss.2020.11.001
AuthorsBarbalet, Jack
Abstract

Practices commonplace in mainland China, of individuals seeking favor from persons who control resources and, if successful, generating expectation of a return favor, characterized as guanxi, is widely held to be based on principles located in China's cultural traditions, including Confucianism. In these terms it is claimed that guanxi is based on certain connected moral principles, including bao (norm of reciprocity) and renqing (norm of human feelings), which can only be understood in terms of such cultural traditions. It is shown in the present article that claims regarding the classical roots of guanxi and related practices cannot be sustained and, further, that they are not required for the understanding or operation of guanxi. The origins of the concept of guanxi in late Qing and Republican China, and development of the term in post-1949 China, are outlined.

Keywordsback-door practices; confucianism; favor exchange; reciprocity; role-taking; string-pulling
Year2021
JournalAsian Journal of Social Science
Journal citation49 (1), pp. 31-37
PublisherElsevier
ISSN1568-4849
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajss.2020.11.001
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range31-37
Publisher's version
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All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online07 Mar 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted02 Nov 2020
Deposited21 Dec 2021
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