A Comparative Perspective : Guanxi Essay examples

1215 Words Dec 19th, 2016 5 Pages
A Comparative Perspective: Guanxi
Guanxi is not an unchanging practice inherent in Chinese culture, but is a deeply historical and constantly evolving cultural phenomenon that has adapted to the shifting political and economic patterns of modern China (Osburg, 2013, p. 24). This section will explore the historicity of guanxi, its related cultural forms—renqing, kinship, and reciprocity—and will chart the dynamism of the affective and instrumental components of guanxi through a comparison of Gifts, Favors, and Banquets and Anxious Wealth.
A significant historical continuity evident in guanxi is its concern for renqing (human feelings). Renqing is concerned with both the bond and ethics surrounding interpersonal relations between father-son, family and kin, and friendship (Yang, 1994, p. 67). Yang explores the deep historical coupling of interpersonal ethics to reciprocity and identifies the act of gift-giving as the way to deepen social ties (p. 273). In contemporary guanxi, renqing discourse has been appropriated in new political and economic ways, but the primacy of the gift exchange itself remains crucial for imbuing sentimentality in guanxi. For instance, Osburg (2013) notes the open-endedness of the ritualized leisure activities of elite businessmen in courting and sustaining connections. Taking one’s potential business partners for lavish banquets or KTVs is about cultivating sentiments and creating familiarity, but has no initial instrumental function (p. 53). Yang and…

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