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2015 | 28 | 25-38

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On the So-Called Asian Values Once Again



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Over the period of the last two or three decades, East Asia has achieved remarkable success. It is hard to imagine today that yet in the 1960s this region was among the poorest in the world. Since then, a fierce discussion has started over the direction s of Asian modernity. With some influences of the Huntingtonian thesis placing cultural differences at the forefront in explaining international instabilities, several scholars have started quite seriously asking questions about the potential linkages between cultural values and political change in East Asia. In this article, I shall attempt to answer how important the role of cultural factors was in bringing about the general change of image of contemporary Asian communities and economies. After making a few preliminary comments on the theoretical relations between culture and development, I shall proceed to indicate some basic elements of both scientific and political discourse, concerning a concept of the so-called Asian values, which is presented as an example of a highly-ideological attempt at contrasting the two following cultural and social contexts: Asian and Western. In the conclusion, I shall try to contrast some myths about the cultural differences with the results of empirical research






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  • University of Cracow


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