Photo report

China, the West and the Future of Global Capitalism - or Not?

From a recent press release of SOAS, ‘the future of the global economic system depends on the West’s relations with China. A hundred years ago Max Weber, famous as a founder of modern Western social and political science, wrote a classic study of cultural factors that hindered the rise of Western style capitalism in non-Western contexts.’ On 5-6 September, a conference entitled ‘Max Weber and China: Culture, Law and Capitalism’, was successfully held at SOAS, University of London. Nearly a hundred social scientists from China and around the world re-examined Weber’s thesis and asked how far his pioneering social scientific methods can illuminate the very different conditions of economic growth today.  After the conference we received praise from some conference participants:

  • ‘A great triumph!’
  • ‘a significant conference!’
  • ‘a fantastic conference!’
  • 'an intellectually productive conference!’

We hope you will enjoy the photo news below which will highlight some features of the conference and show some initial reflections. Your material and opinions are welcome and will be used to update this page from time to time.

The two photos above show the conference plenary venues (G2: top) and (V211: bottom), SOAS.

Dr Hong Bo (left), Reader in the Financial Economics Department of Financial & Management Studies at SOAS, University of London, chaired the Opening session; Professor Paul Webley (middle), SOAS Director, made welcoming remarks and introduced SOAS as the world's leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East; Professor Martin Albrow (right), Fellow of Kӓte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Study, University of Bonn, Germany and Honorary Vice-President, British Sociological Association (BSA), pointed out that we have joined together out of shared scholarly interest in the conference theme, not as part of a programme mandated by big associations or institutions, and expressed his gratitude to SOAS, to some Conference Programme Committee members and to everyone participating who played key roles in organising this conference for hosting and organising this conference.

Keynote speeches

There were four keynote speeches in this conference which arranged in the morning and afternoon each on the 5 and 6 September. Wolfgang Schluchter, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Director of the Marsilius-Kolleg, University of Heidelberg, Germany, made a keynote speech entitled ‘How ideas become effective in history: Max Weber on Confucianism and beyond’. He made an important clarification of Weber’s usage of Confucianism, ‘the most pronounced counterexample to ascetic Protestantism, seemingly similar from the outside, but totally different from the inside. So Confucianism is included in his attempt to provide a sociology and typology of religious rationalism. Confucianism is also used as a backdrop to understand the singularity of the Western development’. This speech also served as the ‘first Max Weber Studies Annual Lecture’. It was chaired by its Editor Sam Whimster, Professor of Sociology and Global Policy Institute, London, UK
Although Professor Su Guoxun was absent from the conference for health reasons, his speech was delivered at the conference by Dr Xiaoying Zhang (Beijing Foreign Studies University, China). Su, the foremost Chinese expert on Weber from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Harbin Engineering University, pointed out some of the misconceptions that led Weber to misinterpret certain elements of Chinese culture and sought to develop more refined methods of inter-civilizational analysis. The audience raised many critical and interested questions. Dr Xiangqun Chang (CCPN Global and SOAS), chair of the session, offered to convey all the criticisms, comments, questions and feedback to Professor Su and seek his responses and, it is hoped, to publish an ‘absent dialogue’ between a Chinese scholar and the Western Weberians in the conference special issue of the Journal of China in Comparative Perspective in 2014.
The left photo is Professor Martin Albrow who is holding a new edition of the Max Weber: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, translated and introduced by Stephen Kalberg (right), when introducing Professor Kalberg as Keynote speaker from Boston University, USA. Kalberg argues for the continued relevance of Weber’s systemic approach to the comparative analysis of civilizations. He made a critical reappraisal of Weberian theory and its contemporary relevance, which can be seen from his book Max Weber's Comparative-Historical Sociology (2012). Many interesting questions were raised by the audience.

Click HERE for cover story (right bottom)  Click HERE for the dialogue  Click HERE for JCCP

The last Keynote speaker was Professor Gary Hamilton (left below), University of Washington, USA. Professor Wolfgang Schluchter (right) chaired this session. He acknowledged two things that he learned from Hamilton on studies of Weber. One is that Hamilton’s work on family based capitalism in Asia reveals to him that Weber’s insistence that capitalism requires a separation between firms and families was not accurate for Asia. Another is that he agreed that Weber made a mistake equating patria potestas and xiao (孝) in his comparison of traditional Chinese and Roman societies. When Schluchter mentioned this he shown the newly published From the Soil --– the foundation of Chinese society (Xiangtu Zhongguo), Chinese-English edition, by Fei Xiaotong and translated by Gary Hamilton and Zheng Wang (second right in next set of photos). The editor of the Chinese-English edition of From the Soil is the same person who organised a dialogue between Gary Hamilton and Xiangqun Chang on Fei’s contributions to world anthropology and global sociology for commemorating the centenary of Professor Fei Xiaotong’s birth in 2010. The abridged version is published in Anthropology Today, No.6, 2011 (the first and second photos on the left). The completed version will be available in print in Journal of China in Comparative Perspective (JCCP), 1(2), 2011.

In his presentation Hamilton showed pictures of a single and multiple ripples in a pond to demonstrate chaxugeju as ‘the differential mode of association’ and ‘everyone is the centre of their own circle of relationships’. In his earlier paper he put his corrections on Weber’s view between xiao and patria potestas by using Fei Xiaotong’ concepts chaxugeju (差序格局) and tuantugeju (团 体格局) into a larger framework which is published in the first ever issue (1(1), 2011, JCCP, right).
All the major articles in this issue of JCCP are related to Fei’s From the Soil. It was published in Chinese in 1947 and the English version became available in 1992, but it is still relevant today because many important late generations of Chinese scholars’ work has been built on it. Even Hamilton, translator of the book, had overlooked and did not fully appreciate some major points made by Fei Xiaotong in this book (Chang, 2011,1(1):32, JCCP). A more substantial work on chaxugeju by Stephan Feuchtwang is entitled ‘Social egoism and individualism: Surprises and questions from a Western anthropologist of China – Reading Professor Fei Xiaotong’s contrast between China and the West’. It was written 15 years after the English version From the Soil was published which will be available in the 1(2), 2011, JCCP. (Note: the website and email address on the back cover are no longer operating from March and July 2013 respectively. The current email is:; website:                       
After the conference, Hamilton said that ‘the conference made me aware about how much remains to be done to build a framework for the comparative study of China’.

Plenary sessions

There were three joint plenary sessions. Dr Athena Leoussi, Co-Director of European Studies, University of Reading, UK, chaired the first joint plenary session. Athar Hussain, Professor and Director of the Asia Research Centre, at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK, showed how examination selection in Chinese schools favoured the well-established who could afford to give their children extra coaching for a marking scheme that ranked students; this worked against the children of the poor and the internal migrant. Professor Sam Whimster, Editor of Max Weber Studies, gave a presentation of Weberian social-economics arguing that Weber’s typology had to be unpacked and applied to case studies. Weber did this for Russia in 1906, we have to do this for China today. He suggested that Weber’s key concepts, such as economic power, the legal power of disposition, appropriation, the forms of the division of labour, the forms of organization, the nation and its state, and societalization, can be used to analyse Chinese economic development over the last decades in its own terms, and not judged against a normative model of what proper capitalism should be.
The second joint plenary session was chaired by Dr Peter Flügel (middle), Reader in the Study of Religions at the Department of the Study of Religions, SOAS, UK. Bryna Goodman (right), Professor of History and Director of Asian Studies, University of Oregon, USA, gave a talk entitled ‘Not a Club for Ethical Culture’: Politics, Law and Capitalism in Early Chinese Stock Exchanges Selection’. Using the 1921 Shanghai stock exchange bubble as a case study she ‘examines a public controversy over these issues in the form of a public debate between individual businessmen and the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce over issues of economic development, freedom, and national sovereignty’. This mirrored the issues raised by Weber’s own defence of the stock exchanges in the Kaiserreich in the 1890s. Afterwards, Karen Turner (left), Professor of History and Research Scholar, College of the Holy Cross at the Harvard Law School, EALS, USA, talked about ‘Religion in the service of the state: A Reassessment of Weber’s view of the Chinese tradition’. She ‘analyzed how excavated texts and revisionist views of transmitted texts reveal that a high level of formal rationality shaped the Chinese bureaucracy in the formative era of the imperial state’, and demonstrated that the Chinese, much earlier than in the West, developed an efficient blueprint, sanctioned by sacred texts, for managing the economy to serve the state’. In her remarks she observed that Confucian officials were mostly self-serving and not prepared to make sacrifices for fundamental change.
The third joint plenary session was chaired by Dr Carlos Frade (left), Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Salford and Chair of the Weber Studies Group, British Sociological Association (BSA), UK. This session combined two co-presenters each. Judith Farquhar (right), Max Palevsky Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, USA, presented a joint paper with Dr Lili Lai (middle), Senior Lecturer, Medical Humanities Institute, Health Sciences Centre, Peking University, China, entitled ‘National Medicines in China: Institutional Rationality and Healing Charisma’. From their empirical studies they found that ‘being social, no regime can ever be purely “rational”’ because ‘rational systems of medical information cannot, in the end, be external to medical art or “healing charisma”’. They sought to show that the rational and the non-rational have a co-constitutive relationship, not just in theory, but in historical practice in China’. This paper prompted many questions. Wolfgang Schluchter suggested that ‘charisma’ was a political concept that presupposed a personal relationship of leader and follower. Against this the speakers referred to the magical- charismatic practices as described by Stephan Feuchtwang and Mingming Wang (Grassroots charisma: four local leaders in China, 2001). Both cases are examples of how Weber’s ‘Charisma’ can be used in either a real term or in ‘imaginative way’ by empirical studies in China. It seems there are two views on charisma. This illustrated a tendency in the conference for papers that sought a strict application to the Chinese context, and those that favoured a more imaginative use of Weberian concepts when faced with that same context?
The last joint plenary session was presented jointly by Professor Martin Albrow (right) and Dr Xiaoying Zhang (left), Associate Professor and Head of Journalism Department, Vice Dean of School of English and International Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China. The title is ‘World beyond worlds: Max Weber, China and the ‘impartial spectator’. This presentation was a kind of dialogue: Albrow explained how the ideas of ‘world’ have a central place in Max Weber’s comparative studies of religion. Zhang introduced the Chinese view of the world (Shijie 世界and Tianxia天 下). Other thinkers like John Dewey and Bertrand Russell who had both lived and taught in China and thus also appreciated a different world from the West. They provided ‘a shared account of a different world as a better alternative to discarding the idea of the world altogether’. As the author of the Global Age, Albrow turned his attention to ‘world’ as can be seen from the book series ‘Chinese Thoughts for a New World Order -- A Series of Works in English by Chinese Scholars in Humanities and Social Sciences in comparative perspective’ that he proposed and that was funded by the Social Sciences Academic Press (SSAP), China. One of the books that was mentioned by Zhang in her talk is ‘Global System’ by Tingyang Zhao’ which provides a Chinese perspective on the world-system.


The conference received nearly 50 paper submissions including joint authors (as can be seen from the book of abstracts). Apart from the plenary speeches and absent paper givers the rest of the 30 papers were divided into 10 streams. They are: Re-Reading Weber, On Rationalization in Weber, Confucianism and the Work Ethic, Law in China, Chinese Law in Comparative Perspective, Modernity and the Rise of China, Revisiting Weber on the Modern Chinese Economy, The Chinese State and Market Socialism, Chinese Enterprise, and Chinese Investment. The above photos are randomly selected streams. The top photo shows Dr Kent Deng, Reader in Economic History, LSE, UK, who was chairing one of the streams.
The above photos are a small selection of various panellists presenting their papers in different streams. One interesting presentation was given by Professor Hong Qian, Director of the Institution for Global Symbiosis, China, entitled ‘Weber’s Capitalist Spirit and the Symbiosis Values’. Qian made a comparison between Karl Marx and Max Weber and believes the former used ‘the critical weapon’ and ‘weapons of criticism’ to examine capitalism; whereas the latter, Weber, discussed the internal relationship between the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. He then made a simple comparison between capitalist and socialist societies. He pointed out that ‘capitalism encountered the limits of its self-development, antagonism and being treated negatively. As a result, when dealing with the relations between human beings and nature, humans and humans, and humans and themselves, the protestant ethic and Weber’s capitalism spirit encountered a great predicament,’ whereas socialism in China appeared as ‘state capitalism’. He concluded that ‘either socializing capitalism or capitalizing socialism’ won’t work. Based on his research and experience, the integration of ancient oriental wisdom and contemporary biological symbiogenesis findings, Qian proposed a Chinese philosophical idea of ‘symbiotic values’ in the context of global ecology. It can be simply expressed as ‘live and let live’. This idea has been acknowledged by the new generation of leaders in China. He suggested that it can be used as a principle to deal with the three major relationships in the world: man and nature, man and man, man and himself. In order to implement the ‘symbiotic values’ Qian proposed ‘A DECALOGUE by SYMBIOSIS’ with 333 Chinese characters. The photo at the bottom shows Qian presenting this as a gift to the stream chair Professor Martin Albrow after his presentation.

Q &A sessions

After each speech or presentation at either plenary or stream there are always Q & A sessions. They are equally important. The many photos show enthusiastic audience participants in the conference throughout. It was their efforts together with the speakers who made the conference so intellectually stimulating.

Closing session

The closing session started with a plenary panel entitled ‘The Future of Capitalism’. It was organised and chaired by Professor Sam Whimster from the Global Policy Institute. Scott Lash, Professor of Sociology and Director of Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, London, presented arguments from his new book China Constructing Capitalism: Economic Life and Urban Change, of which he is co-author. China is either regarded as falling short of western business standards, e.g. property and contract law, or is seen as hell-bent on its own version of neo-liberalism. Instead Lash argued that while neo-liberal economic life is individualized and disembedded the China model is relational and situated. Also, its vast urban change has to be seen as a new form of ‘local state capitalism’. Weber’s instrumental rationality has to be reconceptualiszed as a new type of substantive rationality, an argument extending to ethics. The question to the panel then became whether China represents a divergent model of capitalism. Stephen Chan (OBE), Professor of International Relations at SOAS and editor of The Morality of China in Africa: The Middle Kingdom and the Dark Continent, said that China placed great store on essential features of the global order: the Westphalian notion of the sovereignty of the state, and its membership of the WTO. On matters of trade with Africa, Chinese officials applied an extremely hard-headed cost-benefit analysis of their objectives. Ann Lee, adjunct professor of economics and finance at NYU and author of What the U.S. Can Learn from China took a more convergent view, noting that China in its vigorous new initiatives did not suffer from the dysfunctionality of the current US. Martin Jacques, author of the controversial best-seller When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, argued that on present trends China will soon become the dominant global power; for example, just how long do we expect the international ascendancy of the US dollar to last? It then becomes fanciful to suppose that China will abide by a model and rules established in the West. The recent financial crisis, still unresolved, shows both the weakness of the West and the need for new departures, and indeed as Martin Albrow noted: are we not entering a universalised information age? The extensive and lively Q&A session recalled Max Weber’s own stipulations on the rationality structures required for a successful modernity and that the dynamic of capitalism is marked by inherent tensions and dangers.
Finally, there was a small session for Closing Remarks. It was chaired by Mr Ernest Caldwell (left), Lecturer in Chinese Law, SOAS. Professor Stephen Chan (middle) represented SOAS to thank everybody whose participation in different ways made a great success of the conference. It reminded him of the first time when he read Max Weber in 1973 and how much more understanding he gained and how helpful it has been with his research over the past four decades. Dr Xiangqun Chang (right), Co-Director of CCPN Global and Research Associate of Centre for Chinese Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK, made a long list of thanks to all the people who helped the conference directly, indirectly, physically, spiritually, intellectually, financially, and so on. Xiangqun quoted a Chinese saying ‘when we drink water from the well, we shall never forget the person who digs the well’ (吃水不忘挖井人). Thanks went to: Professor Stephan Feuchtwang, founding Director of the China in Comparative Perspective Network (CCPN) and Editor-in-chief of JCCP when they were both at LSE. Both CCPN Global’s and JCCP’s involvement in the Weber and China conference have benefitted greatly from Stephan’s input; Professor Elisabeth Croll, for her arranging Xiangqn Chang to be a Research Associate at SOAS’s Centre of Chinese Studies in 2006, without that link we would not have been able to hold the conference at SOAS; Professor Martin Albrow, for proposing to co-host the Weber and China conference when he acted as the Principal Research Associate of CCPN at LSE (2011-13) and led the conference’s Programme Committee which organised the conference successfully; SOAS’s colleagues: Dr Tian Yuan Tan, the current Director of the Centre for Chinese Studies, Professor Michel Hockx, the Founding Director of the new SOAS China Institute, Professor Julia Strauss, Dr Hong Bo, Mr Ernest Caldwell, Professor Paul Webley, Professor Stephen Chan, Dr Andrea Janku, Dr Peter Flügel, Dr Carol Tan, and Ms Jane Savory, the Manger of SOAS’s Centres and Programme Office, for their support in different ways throughout the conference. Other Conference Programme Committee (apart from the above mentioned): Professor John Breuilly and Dr Kent Deng of LSE who were a part of the inception of the conference, Professor Sam Whimster, Editor of Max Weber Studies, Dr Carlos Frade, Chair of Weber Study Group, BSA, Dr Athena Leoussi, Co-Director of European Studies Programme of University of Reading, for their intellectual input and emotional support; Other organisers and sponsors: Professor Letian Zhang, of Fudan University, the Co-director of CCPN Global, Professor Daming Zhou of Sun Yet-sen University and the Guest Editor of JCCP, and Mr Michael Sheringham, who runs the Arthur Probsthain Bookshop, for their organization and sponsorship of the conference, for their organizational and financial support; and all the volunteers: Mimi Ajibade, Anlan Chen, Wewei Chen, Mieke Houvenaghel, Farwa Sial, Ghayda Nawres from SOAS, and Xiaojing Sun from CCPN Global and Bristol University, for all their help during the conference. Xiangqun then expressed her gratitude with the Chinese phrase that ‘when everybody adds fuel, the flames rise high’ (众人拾柴火焰高) to all the conference participants including keynote speakers, panelists of the closing session, plenary speakers, all the panel speakers and participants for their enthusiasm and energy to make this conference so intellectually productive.

As a Chinese saying puts it, there is no feast under heaven (tianxia) that can last forever (天下没有不散的筵席), which means, of course, that all good things must come to an end. Conferences are indeed intellectual feasts. We hope, after you return home, the visible or invisible images, imaginative thinking or memories of the Weber and China conference and its spirit will stay with you…

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伦敦大学亚非学院最近的新闻报道, “全球经济体系的未来取决于西方同中国的关系。一百年前,马克斯∙韦伯,现代西方社会学与政治学的创始人,对文化因素阻碍了非西方背景的西式的资本主义兴 起的有着经典研究的著述。” 2013年9月5-6日,题为“韦伯与中国:文化,法律与资本主义”的国际大会成功地在伦敦大学亚非学院举行。近百名来自中国和世界各地的社会科学家重新 审视韦伯命题,探讨他开创的社会科学方法在多大程度上可以诠释当今纷繁复杂的经济发展状态。会后,我们收到一些与会者的来函,称赞本次大会是:

  • “一个伟大 的胜利!”
  • “一次具有重要意义的会议”!
  • “一次激励智力及其丰产的会议!”
  • “一次棒极了的会议”……



伦敦大学亚非学院金融与经济管理系准教授薄宏博士(左图)主持了开幕式;伦敦大学亚非学院院长保罗•韦伯利Paul Webley教授(中图)致欢迎辞并介绍了亚非学院,这一在全球领先的研究亚洲、非洲和中东地区的教研机构。 英国社会学会荣誉副会长、德国波恩大学高研院院士马丁•阿尔布劳Martin Albrow教授(右图)指出,我们相聚一堂是因为对会议主题的共同学术兴趣,而非某个大团体或机构的特殊项目,并表达了他对主办这次大会的亚非学院、组委会成员以及参与者的感谢。



德国海德堡大学马克斯•韦伯社会学系荣休教授沃尔夫冈•施鲁赫特Wolfgang Schluchter做了题为“如何让思想在历史中富有成效:马克斯•韦伯对儒教及延伸之研究”的主题演讲。他对韦伯的儒家思想应用作了重要澄清,认为 “禁欲的新教的最明显的反例,从表面看似相似,但实质上完全不同。韦伯尝试用儒教开发一种社会学和宗教理性主义的类型学。儒家思想也被他用作背景去理解西 方发展的奇特性。”


苏国勋教授(中图)因健康原因缺席会议,章晓英博士(左 图,中国北京外国语大学)代为宣读其演讲稿。苏国勋教授是中国社科院社会学所荣休研究员、哈尔滨工程大学社会学系教授,是中国最著名的韦伯研究专家。他指 出,由于一些错误的观念导致韦伯曲解中国文化的某些元素,他试图探究出更精细的方法来进行不同文明间的分析。听众对其观点提出许多重要的和感兴趣的问题。 全球中国比较研究会共同会长、伦敦大学亚非学院中国研究中心研究员、组委会联席主席常向群博士(右图)主持了这场演讲,她提议把所有的批评、评论及问题反馈给苏教授并寻求他的回应,希望在2014出版的《中国比较研究》特刊上发表一篇“一位中国学者与西方韦伯研究者的‘缺席’的对话”。

左边的照片是马丁•阿尔布劳教授(左图)主持大会的第三场嘉宾演讲,他拿着由斯蒂芬•凯尔伯格(右图)翻译并撰写前言的增补版《马克斯•韦伯:新教伦理与资本主义精神》斯蒂芬•凯尔伯格Stephen Kalberg教授是美国波士顿大学社会学教授,他在其主题演讲中强调韦伯的系统方法和不同文明的比较分析的持续相关性,并对韦伯理论及其当代意义作了重要的重新评估,详见他的《马克斯•韦伯的历史比较社会学》(2012)一书。观众对此提出许多有趣的问题。
最后一位演讲人是美国华盛顿大学国际关系学院副院长、社会学系韩格理Gary Hamilton教授(左下图)。沃尔夫冈•施鲁赫特教授(右 下 图)主持了演讲。他承认从韩格理的韦伯研究中学到了两件事:第一,韩格理基于亚洲的资本主义的家庭研究让他认识到,韦伯坚持资本主义要求把家庭和公司分开 的观点不适用于亚洲。第二,他同意韩格理的观点,认为韦伯在基于“孝”和“父权”而进行的传统中国和古罗马社会的比较中出现了错误。施鲁赫特在提到这一点 时展示了去年出版的费孝通《乡土中国》中英对照版,英译本由韩格理和王政(下一组照片右二)翻译。中英文对照版《乡土中国》的编辑曾在2010年费孝通教 授百年诞辰纪念时主持了一个韩格理教授和常向群博士之间的对话,讨论费孝通对世界人类学和全球社会学的贡献。对话的缩节版发表在英国皇家人类学会会刊 Anthropology Today 的2011年第6期(左边第一、二张照片),对话完整版见2011年第1卷第2期《中国比较研究》。 韩格理在演讲中展示了池塘中的单一的纹波和多个波纹的图片来解说“差序格局”中的关系的不同模式,并指出每个人都是自己关系圈的中心。韩格理曾在一个更大 的 框架中用费孝通的“差序格局”和“团体格局”纠正了韦伯的“孝”和“父权”观点,这篇早期论文发表在《中国比较研究》(JCCP)的创刊号上(2011年 6月第1期)上。《中国比较研究》创刊号(右图)的主要文章都和费孝通的《乡土中国——中国社会的基础》相 关(副标题为费孝通和韩格理讨论英文版书名时一起加上去的)。这本书中文版发表于1947年,英文版1992年。但它至今仍然有价值,因为后来的中国学者 许多重要著作都是建立在此基础上的;而且甚至连本书的译者韩格理本人,都忽略或没有充分理解费孝通在这本书中提出的许多重要观点(常向 群,2011,1(1):32,JCCP)。费孝通《乡土中国》发表15年后,王斯福(Stephan Feuchtwang)才认真地阅读了此书,写了“社会的利己主义和个人主义:一位西方汉学人类学家的惊喜和问题——阅读费孝通教授的中西对比 ”一文,这篇对“差序格局”较为深入研究的论文的中英文版,同时再现于《中国比较研究》2011年第1卷第2期。(注意:该期刊封底的网址和邮箱地址分别 从2013年3月和7月停用。目前电子邮件是;网站

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      本次大会还安排了三次全体会议。英国雷丁大学欧洲研究中心联席主任Athena Leoussi博士主持第一次全体大会。英国伦敦经济学院亚洲中心主任阿塔•侯赛因(Athar Hussain)教授, 发表了关于中国人才选拔方面的演讲,认为中国学校的考试排名选拔制度对那些有钱让孩子参加课外辅导班的家庭有利,但对穷人家的孩子却不公平。随后,《马克斯∙韦伯研究》主编山姆•威姆斯特教授做 了题为“韦伯社会经济分析”的演讲,他认为韦伯的类型学不应束之高阁,要用于案例研究,韦伯在1906年把类型学应用于俄国,如今我们得应用于中国。他建 议,韦伯的关键概念,如经济能力、配置分配合法力、占有或挪用(appropriation)、劳动分工的形式、组织形式、国家与政权、社会化,可直接用 于分析过去几十年中国经济的发展 ,而不需要用正确的资本主义的标准模式来判断。
第二次全体会议主持人是彼得∙福鲁格尔博士(Peter Flügel)(中图),他是伦敦大学亚非学院宗教研究系高级讲师。美国俄勒冈亚洲研究中心主任、历史学教授顾德曼Bryna Goodman(右图)发表了一篇题为“伦理文化不是俱乐部:早期中国证券交易体系中的政治、法律和资本”的演讲。 她把1921年上海股市泡沫作为一个案例研究,以个体商人和上海商会公开辩论的形式,探究经济发展、自由与国家主权等引起公众争议的问题。这里反映出的问 题,韦伯在自我防御19世纪90年代Kaiserreich证券交易已经提出过。接着,美国和理大学历史系主任、哈佛大学法学院研究员高鸿钧Karen Turner教授(左 图)发表了“为国家服务的宗教:重新审视韦伯的中国传统观”的演讲。她分析道,根据出土文献与传播文本的修正后观点,在帝国形成时期,高度的理性塑造了中 国的官僚机构,并论证了中国比西方要早得多就通过礼法典籍发展了一种有效的制度,用于管理经济、服务国家。她指出,儒家的官员大多是自私和不准备为根本的 改变做出牺牲的。
第三次全体会议是由英国社会学会韦伯分会主席、 英国索尔德福大学社会学系高级讲师卡洛斯•弗雷德Carlos Frade博士(左图)主持。这次会议的两场演讲均由两人联席演示。上半场由美国芝加哥大学人类学系冯珠娣Judith Farquhar教授(右图)和中国北京大学医学部人文研究院高级讲师赖立里博士(中 图)联席,她们合著的论文题为,“中国国药(National Medicines):制度理性和‘愈合的魅力(charisma)”。她们从实证研究中发现,任何社会的政权都不是纯粹的“理性”,因为医疗信息的理性 系统最终只是医学美术或“愈合魅力”的表层。她们试图表明,无论是理论上还是在中国历史实践中,理性和非理性都有共构关系。大家对此观点提出了许多问题, 例如,施鲁赫特认为“人格魅力” 是一个政治概念,是领导者与追随者的个人关系的先决条件。但两位作者引证了“神奇的魅力”的实践中的用法(见:王斯福和王铭铭合著的《基层卡理斯玛: 中国的四种地方领袖》(2001年)。这两种情况都说明了,韦伯的“魅力”可以用于“富有想象力的”实证研究方式。这里似乎有两种观点:一种是会议上提出 的严格地将“魅力”一词用于中国社会语境的观点;另一种提出如何将韦伯的概念在中国语境的实证研究“富有想象力”地应用?
第三次全体会议下半场演讲是英国社会学会荣誉副会长、德国波恩大学高研院院士马丁•阿尔布劳Martin Albrow教授(右图)和北京外国语大学英语学院副院长、新闻系系主任章晓英博士(左图)联席演示的。

标 题为“世界之外的世界:韦伯、中国及公正的旁观者”。这场演讲类似一场对话:阿尔布劳解释说,“世界”这一概念是韦伯的比较宗教研究的 中心。章博士介绍了中国人对世界的理解(世界和天下)。马丁还介绍了曾在中国生活和教书的约翰•杜威John Dewey和贝特朗•罗素Bertrand Russell等思想家对世界的理解,欣赏那个与西方不同的世界。

两位演讲者提出了“共享的不同世界”以取代“大同世界”的观点。作为《全球时代》的作 者,阿尔布劳把话题转向了“世界”,这从《新的世界秩序中的中国思想》系列丛书可见一斑,此系列丛书由阿尔布劳提议、中国社会科学文献出版社资助。章博士在演讲中提及的赵汀阳著的《全球系统》一书被列入此系列,书中提出了一个中国视野的世界观体系。 



本 次会议共收到近50篇提交的论文含合著的论文。除了专题演讲和缺席者的论文之外,其余30篇论文被分为10小组。它们是:重读韦伯,韦伯的合理化研究,儒 家思想和工作伦理,中国法律,比较视野中的中国法律,现代性与中国崛起,比照现代中国经济重温韦伯,中国政府和市场社会主义,中国企业,中国的投资。上面 照片是从小组会议中任意选取的。最上面的照片是伦敦经济学院经济史系准教授邓钢博士在主持小组会议。


上面的照片展现不同小组的成员在宣讲他们的论文。中国全球共生研究院院长钱宏教授做 了题为“韦伯的资本主义精神与共生价值观”的有趣演讲。钱教授把卡尔•马克思和马克斯•韦伯进行了比较,认为马克思用“批判的武器”来审视资本主义,而韦 伯却发现了新教伦理与资本主义精神之间的内在关系。然后他把资本主义社会和社会主义社会进行了一个简单的比较,指出,“资本主义遇到了自身发展的局限,对 抗和负面性。结果,在处理人与自然、人与人、人与自身的关系时,新教伦理与韦伯资本主义精神遭遇到极大的困境,而中国的社会主义却成为一个“国家资本主 义”。他的结论是,无论是社会化的资本主义还是资本化的社会主义都困境重重。基于他的研究和经验,在整合古老的东方智慧与当代生物学“共生起源”发现的基 础上,钱教授提出了全球生态语境下的中国哲学——“共生价值观”,简单地表达为“自己活也让别人活”。这一思想已经得到中国新一代领导人认可。他建议, “共生价值观”可作为一个原则用,来处理世界上的三大关系:人与自然、人与人、人与自身。为了践行“共生价值观”,钱教授用333个汉字提出“共生十 诫”。底部的照片是钱教授演讲后把“共生十诫”作为礼物赠送给小组主持人马丁•阿尔布劳教授






闭幕大会由两部分组成。闭幕大会是以“资本主义的未来”这一主题讨论开场的,这场主题活动是由《马克斯∙韦伯研究》主编山姆•威姆斯特教授组织和主持的。斯科特•拉什Scott Lash(上图左一)是英国伦敦大学哥德斯密学院文化研究中心主任及社会学教授。他是《构建中国的资本主义:经济生活和城市变化》一 书的合著者,此书在大会开幕前两天由罗特里奇出版公司出版。他认为,中国要不被视为在财产法和合同法方面落后于西方企业标准,或者被看作是执意实行新版本 自由主义。相反,新自由主义经济生活是个性化的和剥离脱嵌的,而中国模式是相互联系和紧密结合的。同时,其庞大的城市变化已被视为一种新形式的“本土国家 资本主义”。韦伯的工具理性已经被重新定义为一种新的实质理性,延伸到伦理争论。这时主持人提出“中国模式是否是资本主义模式的分支”的问题,几位著名公 共知识分子回应了这个问题。底排照片从左到右依次为:大英帝国勋章荣膺者斯蒂芬•陈教授(左图),英国伦敦大学亚非学院法律与社会科学院院长、前国际关系学院院长,《中国道德在非洲:中世纪王国与黑暗大陆》主编。他认为,中国注重全球秩序的基本特征:表现在对威斯特伐利亚国家主权的概念和成为WTO成员。在与非洲的贸易问题上,中国官员对其目标进行了非常冷静的成本效益分析。李淯(中图),畅销书《美国能向中国学什么》一书的作者,美国纽约大学金融和经济学客座教授,中国西亚斯国际大学教授,她持更为温和的观点,指出中国正在进行蓬勃的新举措,并没有受到美国现在功能失调的影响。右图是马丁•雅克,全球畅销书《当中国统治世界:西方世界的终结和全球新秩序的诞生》(2009,2012) 的作者, 伦敦经济学院高级客座研究员、中国清华大学的客座教授。马丁认为,从目前的趋势来看,中国将很快掌握全球主导权;例如,我们预期美元的国际优势能持续多 久?然后幻想性地假设中国将遵守一个西方建立的模型和规则。还有最近还没得到解决的金融危机,凸显了西方的弱点和急需新的生命力。正如马丁•阿尔布劳所说 的:我们不是进入了信息普及的时代?接下来的广博而生动的问答回归到韦伯自己的定律,理性结构要求一个成功的现代性,资本主义的动力是以内在的紧张和危险 为特征。


最后,伦敦大学亚非学院中国法律讲师、大会组委会联席主席康佩理Ernest Caldwell(左图)主持大会闭幕致辞。斯蒂芬•陈教授(中图)代表亚非学院感谢大家的参与,正是大家的积极参与会议才取得圆满的成功。这让他想起1973年他第一次阅读韦伯作品,过去的40年他对韦伯思想有了更深的理解,并且有助于他的研究。全球中国比较研究会共同会长、英国伦敦大学亚非学院中国研究中心研究员常向群博士(右图),对所有直接或间接、体力上、精神上、情感上、智力上、经济上等等帮助会议成功举办的人表达由衷的感谢!她引用中国古话“吃水不忘挖井人”依次对以下个人与团体表达诚挚的谢意:

  • 感谢伦敦经济学院中国比较研究网创办主任和《中国比较研究》创刊主编王斯福教授,使“全球中国比较研究会”和《中国比较研究》期刊得以组织和赞助“韦伯与中国”大会;
  • 感谢Elisabeth Croll教授于2006年安排常向群博士在亚非学院中国研究中心做研究员,没有这个缘起,我们也不可能在亚非学院召开这次大会。
  • 感谢马丁•阿尔布劳教授提议伦敦经济学院中国比较研究网与其他单位共同主办“韦伯与中国”大会,并领导组委会成功地举办了这次会议。
  • 感 谢亚非学院同事们:中国研究中心主任陈靝沅(Tian Yuan Tan)博士、亚非学院新近成立的中国研究所创始主任Michel Hockx教授、朱莉教授、薄宏博士、康佩理先生、 保罗•韦伯利教授、斯蒂芬陈教授、Andrea Janku博士、 Peter Flügel博士、 Carol Tan博士以及亚非学院中心和项目办公室经理Jane Savory女士, 感谢他们会议自始至终提供的各种形式的帮助。
  • 感 谢组委会其他成员:伦敦经济学院John Breuilly 教授和伦敦经济学院邓钢博士,《马克斯•韦伯研究》主编山姆•威姆斯特教授, 英国社会学会韦伯分会主席卡洛斯•弗雷德博士, 英国雷丁大学欧洲研究中心联席主任Athena Leoussi博士,感谢他们的智慧投入和情感支持!
  • 感谢其他组织者和赞助者:全球中国研究会联席会长、中国复旦大学张乐天教授, 《中国比较研究》杂志客座主编、中国中山大学周大鸣教授,Arthur Probsthain东方书店的Michael Sheringham先生, 感谢他们支持并赞助大会。
  • 感 谢所有的志愿者:来自亚非学院的 Mimi Ajibade, Anlan Chen, Weiwei Chen, Mieke Houvenaghel, Farwa Sial, Ghayda Nawres 和来自布里斯托大学的孙晓婧,感谢他们会议期间的事无巨细和卓有成效的工作。
  • 最后,常向群博士用“众人拾柴火焰高”这一中国俗语表达了她对会议所有参与者包括主讲嘉宾、闭幕讨论的专家、全体大会和小组演讲者,以及所有与会者的深深的谢意,正是他们的热情参与才让此次会议获得丰富的学术成果! 






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