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Why is Chinese culture the way it is?


JustJon

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Hi Guys,

I have to write an essay about a particular culture:

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With reference to a particular country or region, identify and discuss the various factors which shape the development of a culture.

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I've chosen Chinese for the culture.

Has any one got any ideas or advice?

What major events, factors etc do you think have affected Chinese culture past and present?

Anything that you think has effected Chinese culture is of real use to me. I'm particularly interested in the cultural revolution, how do you think this has effected present day China?

All help, ideas, insight is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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This is such a very broad topic.

Perhaps you may wish to take a look at this thread on the "History" forum -> http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/4503-decline-of-the-qing

where xuechengfeng presented his own ideas on writing his paper and with others' input he eventually completed it and shared it with us.

What is the title of your essay? What is the scope?

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Maybe you can buy China: A New History by John King Fairbank. I read that book four or so years ago and remember it being very helpful for understanding the very broad question of why Chinese culture is deifferent from Western culture.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0674116739/qid=1117858854/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/002-3239599-1688068

If I were you, I might research issues related to:

1) Geography- ie. how did Greece and its island state mentality differ from a gigantic continental country that ended up have a strong sense of and respect for centralized state power.

2) Agriculture- I think no analysis of China is possible unless you try to grasp what percentage of the people farm and how the farming is done. The US has massive factory farms and the farming population is about 1-2,000,000 out of 300,000,000. China, in contrast, has 1,300,000,000 people with about 40% involved with farming. This is a problem has its roots far back in the past.

Then after that I think you can get into different philosophical traditions, different traditions of governing, political systems...etc.

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What is the title of your essay? What is the scope?

The word count needs to be 3500 approx.

The title of essay is still undecided.

The course I'm doing is design related (not history etc) and this is the only "Cultural" module we are covering hence the paper doesn't need to be really specific by dealing only with certain events or dates etc.

The subject matter is going to be quite broad. My intention was to start with an overview of the factors which shape culture in general and then move on to China in particular.

Starting with an introduction on China and then moving on to certain key factors that have affected Chinese culture.

At the moment I'm still trying to split up the information into areas:

• Ancient history and traditions (Confucianism etc)

• The transition to communism (Military defats, revolution etc)

• The government style

• The huge population

• The language (written and spoken)

• The influence of other nations

• The present day and future

It's difficult to know how to split it up without having too much cross over between sections. Any advice or ideas for other sections would be helpful.

2) Agriculture- I think no analysis of China is possible unless you try to grasp what percentage of the people farm and how the farming is done. The US has massive factory farms and the farming population is about 1-2' date='000,000 out of 300,000,000. China, in contrast, has 1,300,000,000 people with about 40% involved with farming. This is a problem has its roots far back in the past.

[/quote']

That's something i didn't think of. If it's O.K with you I'd like to quote those figures, could you tell me where they're from?

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(1) China is a country with small per capita arable land. About 70 percent of its 1.3 billion people live in the countryside. In 2003, China's grain output only totaled 420 million tons. In contrast, only 7 percent of the US population live in the rural areas and the US grain production was 350-380 million tons, not much lower than that produced in China. This fact reflects low productivity of China's agricultural sector.

http://www.pbc.gov.cn/english/detail.asp?col=6500&id=64

You also hear the stat that 70% of Chinese people live in rural areas.

http://www.inasp.info/newslet/mar05.shtml

But, this page demonstates the difficulties in understanding Chinese data.

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/LUC/ChinaFood/argu/dataqua/dq_32.htm

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