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Confucian Family for a Feminist Future

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The Confucian family, not only in its historical manifestations but also in the imagination of the Confucian founders, was the locus of misogynist norms and practices that have subjugated women to varying degrees. Therefore, advancing women's well-being and equality in East Asia may seem to require radically transforming the Confucian family to approximate alternative ideal conceptions of the family in the West. My article argues against such a stance by carefully examining not only different conceptions of the Confucian family, but also influential contemporary Western ideal conceptions of the family from the justice perspective and care ethics. This article shows (1) that Western conceptions of the family may be neither plausible nor feasible in traditionally Confucian societies and (2) that the Confucian family, once reconstructed in line with Confucianism's core ideas and values, can be conducive to a feminist future in East Asia that is uniquely Confucian.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-11-01

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