"With Malice Toward None" to "A House Divided": The Impact of Changing Perceptions of Ritual and Sincerity on Elite Social Cohesion and Political Culture in Northern Song China, 1027-1067
MetadataShow full item record
CitationKroher, Martin Josef. 2014. "With Malice Toward None" to "A House Divided": The Impact of Changing Perceptions of Ritual and Sincerity on Elite Social Cohesion and Political Culture in Northern Song China, 1027-1067. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractAt the heart of this dissertation lie two political events that hitherto have predominantly been interpreted from the perspective of the xining reform and the factional disputes that accompanied it: the so called qingli reform (1043-1045), and a ritual debate (puyi 1064-1066). One goal of this work is to assess these on their own merits, and in this way gain new insights for our understanding of Wang Anshi's failure to maintain literati consensus in the xining-period, and the nature of 11th-century socio-political associations, or factions, in general.
A considerable number of counterexamples cast doubt on views that interpret opposing factions as the manifestation of pre-existing, intellectual or social structures, with firm boundaries between groups prior to the actual dispute. Instead, our discussion of said political events, and the social relationships of actors at the time showed that there were ample connections between leading figures both in the 1030s and '40s, and prior to the puyi and xining disputes. It turned out that in both periods literati networks were much more diverse and ambiguous than the later disputes would suggest, but there was one crucial difference: earlier, literati had been much more likely to reestablish working relationships with erstwhile opponents and their networks, whereas such mending of fences appeared almost impossible in the latter half of the 11th century.
To explain the difference from an intellectual perspective, we have turned to an interpretation of ritual offered by Seligman et al., which due to its bearing on social relationships is pertinent to the question at hand. Drawing on a diversity of texts about ritual, as well as the actions and positions taken during the two political events, we argue that views of ritual changed during the period in question: whereas the qingli protagonists had taken ritual on its own terms, and in this way made social ritual usable to keep up and reestablish relationships through intellectual disagreements and political defeat, important later figures relegated ritual to being a part of their larger visions of integrated orders, and as a consequence it lost the mitigating potential it had had earlier.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13067681
- FAS Theses and Dissertations