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Development as Acculturation

Author: GaoYiQing
Tutor: ChenShengYong
School: Zhejiang University
Course: Political Theory
Keywords: Lucian Pye Political Development Psycho-cultural Paradigm
CLC: D092
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 425
Quote: 0
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Abstract


As the largest developing country, China has the attention of the world. In many areas, the political development of China is one of the indispensable study. The theory and practice in the international political development studies has a very real value and meaning for the Chinese political development. However, although these theoretical achievements are worth learning and using for reference, they do not agree with the national condition of our country in many ways. Looking around at the overseas developmentary political scientists, no one can not only be familiar with the Chinese culture, but also do well in political development theory; Lucian Pye was one of the few scholars who succeeded in both. As former president of APSA and SSRC/CCP, Prof. Pye was a heavyweight scholar in the American political science circle, but in China he was nearly neglected for historical reasons. Though be mentioned occasionally in political culture, the studies of his theory are very few. Born in China, Prof. Pye was devoted to China’s politics with all his heart throughout his lifetime. He was one of the first scholars who were not restricted in the ideology and understood the socialist China as developing country. Therefore, students who major in Chinese political development cannot ignore such a heavyweight researcher. As far as the research fields were concerned, Prof. Pye’s studies involved the comparative politics, political development, and political culture. Although the first two parts are very important, they were rarely introduced in China. To some degree, they can demonstrate the academic level of SSRC/CCP. In fact, Prof. Pye’s academic fruits of political development were often covered by his political culture achievements. However, as a major leader of the political development research, the first half academic career of Prof. Pye was dedicated to the political development of developing countries. He formed a unique Psycho-cultural research paradigm which is quite different from the structure-functional research path. Through the perspective of social culture of developing countries and socialization process of the political participants, it analyzes the typical political personality and its forming mechanism to get the psychopathological diagnosis in the non-western transitional societies, it essentially cannot be simply equivalent to the purely political culture research while it is the foundation of Prof. Pye’s late Chinese political culture research, especially in his research methodology. The psycho-cultural research method derived from Freud’s psychological dynamics analysis and Parsons’s culturalist personality, combing with Eriksson’s personality evolutionary doctrine and Lasswell’s the psychopathologic diagnosis of political man. By investigating the diffusion of world culture in non-western world, Prof. Pye found that the psychological ambivalence in the reproduction of personality was the cause of the social and political turmoil in the non-western world social transformation. With explanatory power and its limitation simultaneously, this theoretical paradigm of research should not be reviewed only as a simple theory recitation or some kind of summary. From theoretical basis, constitutive requirements, to the main logic, researchers need to examine and analyze the paradigm completely. Finally, from the analysis and critique of Pye’s psycho-cultural paradigm, we could draw a conclusion, that is:although his psycho-cultural paradigm used a relatively simple cultural determinism model and incurred severe criticisms, this does not mean culture, personality and other subjective factors are not important in the process of political development. From the relationship of system and life world, it’s easy to find that political development is not just increasing the abilities of political system, it contains a unique legitimate logic because of the rationalization process of the life world and its resistance to the political system. Therefore, as basic elements of life world, culture, personality, and other subjective factors cannot be simply removed out of the political development research. Moreover, culture, personality and other subjective factors cannot be applied objectively; cultural object cannot be equated to physical objects. This kind of reification of culture is another focus on the analysis of the theoretical study on the place.

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CLC: > Political, legal > Political Theory > History of Political Science,History of Political Thought > History of Chinese Political Thought
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