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Gentleman Ideal

Gentleman Ideal

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Published by: grw49 on Dec 05, 2012
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9
THEGENTLEMANIDEAL ANDTHEMAINTENANCEOF APOLITICALELITE
TwoCaseStudies:Confucianducation n theTang, Sung,MingandChingDynasties;nd the LateVictorian ublicSchools(1870-1914)*
Rupert H.Wilkinson
StanfordUniversityBothConfucianeducation andtheVictorian-EdwardianPublic Schoolshelpedto main-tain theidentityandpoliticalpower of anelite, promoting thepublioservicetraditionsofgentry familieswhichformedthenucleusof thatelite. Ahingebetweentraditional loyaltiesandrationalistorganization,Imperial Chineseeducation,no lessthan itsEnglishcounter-part, absorbed andindoctrinated non-eliteindividuals, andstrengthened a"two-way link"betweenpublicleadershipandhighsocialstatus.Thispaper describes howthetwoeducationsystemsaohievedtheireffectsbypro-motingan amateur,ideal, bymorallydowngrading commeroe and byplayingon aestheticemotion-the"goodtaste"ofthegentleman.ThepaperdevelopsJosephSchumpeter'sthesis thatbourgeoisclassesdonoteasilybecomegoverning classes.
"Thestockexchanges apoor substituteortheHolyGrail...."Thebourgeoisieproducedindividuals whomadeasuccessatpoliticalleadershipuponenteringpoliticalclassofnon-bourgeoisrigin,but itdidnotproducea successfulpoliticalstratum f its ownalthough,ooneshouldthink,hethirdgenerationsftheindustrialfamilieshad alltheopportunityoform one."-JosephSchumpeter'
LEADERSARENOT
allgovernors,orgovernmenturvivesby magicaswellasby reason,bydignitys well asbyitsdecisions.Rationalistand un-heroic,thebourgeoisacks"themysticallamorndtheordlyttitude"whichmadethemediaeval ordrespecteds a ruler ofmen.So runsSchumpetersargument.tis anargumentthatstressesaptitude-politicalaptitude-rathermoreheavilyhantdoes
motivation.
Thebourgeois,ontendsSchumpeter,ften "wantstobeleftaloneandtoleavepoliticslone"fortheveryreason thathe senseshisinadequaciesinthepoliticalsphere.2WhatSchumpeterdoesnotreallydetailarethepositivefactors-theattitudes nd motivations-thatdirected heandedclasses,ratherthan thebourgeoisie,owardspublicservice.Thepurposeofthispaperis to examine thesefactors,nd tosuggestthattheywereallpartandparcelof a"gentlemandeal." I amgoingtoarguethatthis
*
Read beforetheFifthWorldCongressofSociology, Washington, .C.,August,962.
1
Joseph Schumpeter, apitalism,ocialism4Democracy, arper,NewYork,1942, p. 137,298.
2
Josephchumpeter,bid,pp. 137-8.
 
10
Sociologyf Educationideal wasasortofcontrollingink natwo-wayelationshipetweengov-ernmentnda politicalelite.Ontheonehand, itaidedgovernmente-cruitmentymakingpublicserviceagentlemanlybligation.Ontheotherhand,it defendedtheidentity,hepoliticalpowerandthesocialprestigeofan elitegroupby inspiringhat groupto retaintheirgriponpublicaffairs.InbothmperialChinaandVictorianEngland,thegentlemandealwas promotedy educationystemswhosevalueswerethoseoftheland-lordrather hanthoseof theurbanbusinessman.Aswithvalues,sowithpower:ConfucianeducationandtheVictorianPublic Schoolbothcon-ferredcareeradvantagesonthegentry,n the groupwhoseivingcamefrom ents-andfromertainprofessionalutnon-entrepreneurialune-tions.3Througheducationthegentryetained primeaccesstohighposi-tionsngovernment.4otonlydidthe classical curriculum-tailoredtocivilserviceexaminations-favorthecultural backgroundofthe landedfamily,butthe wholeeducationsystemctuallymadegentlemeny thesameindoctrinationhat made rulers.Studentsfromnon-gentryriginswerestampedwithhegentry'sraditionalutlook.twas,asoneEnglishhistoriandescribedt,themanufacturef"syntheticgentility."The Definitionofa GentlemanAtthispoint,we shoulddefineheword "gentleman,and establishmoreclearlytherelationbetweenthegentlemandealandawayof lifecon-nectedwithand.In The ConciseOxfordDictionary,gentlemansde-fineds (1)aman "entitledtobeararms"butnot ofthenobility,2)amanwith"chivalrous instincts,ineeelingsndgoodbreeding," (3)"amanofgoodsocialposition,manof wealthandleisure."
6
Let usforthe moment,gnorethefirstartof this definition:he "entitledtobeararms"phrasestemsfromfeudal concernswithsoldiering-a subjectbe-yondthescopeof thisessay.Whatshouldfirste notedstheovertonefmoraluperiorityhatthe definitionarries.Theveryword"gentleman,in fact,displaysthesamecharacter,nd ReinholdNiebuhr pointsoutthatthisisalso trueof both"gentleman"and"nobleman"inother
3
The ChineseentryereperhapsubjectomoreocialmobilityhanheEnglishgentry;heirocialstatusdependedirectlynmembershipn,orkinshipwith,hede-gree-holderroup.Shen-shih,heChineseword commonlyranslateds"gentry"literallymeans"degree-holders."Whentalkof the Chinesegentry,meanthosefamiliesnjoyingocialprestigendarespectedtandardf culture,on-commercialbutnotnecessarilyargeandowners.heyharedtatusnd valuesncommonatherthangreatwealth.
4
W.L.Guttsman,AristocracyndtheMiddleClassn theBritisholiticalElite,1886-1916,"BritishJoutrnalfSociology,ondon,March1954.RobertMarsh,TheMandarins:TheCirculationf
Elites
inChina,Free Press,Glencoe,U.S.A.),1961,pp.78-82.
6
E.Wingfield-Stratford,heSqutirendHisBelations,Cassells,London,1956,p.389.
6
ConoieOxfordictionary,xfordniversityress,1958.
 
Ime
Gentlemandeal11
Europeantongues.7n China,ikewise,he nearestequivalentto"gentle-man,"juin-tze,meantliterally"superiorman";thesuperioritytre-ferredo wasfirstnd foremostmoral.Now,hereretwosecondaryharacteristicsf thegentlemanonceptthatareparticularlymportantorourstudy.Thefirstsclassicallearn-ingandtheseconds thepossessionfleisure.8Bothwereconcernedwithan aestheticdealofelegantease-oratleasta postureof ease.9nChina,asin 18thnd19thCenturyngland,thisdealwasdefendedbyfamilieswho possessedorwantedtopossesslandedwealth;anditsupportedamoralpremiumnmoderation,elf-restraintndsocialharmony.Tothegentleman,ndthosewhorespectedhim,classicalculturewassupposedtoconfermoraladvantagebyprovidingselectaccesstopastwisdoms.Confuciandoctrinestatedquite explicitlythatgreatvirtuecouldonlycomethroughearning.n England,the moralclaimsoftheclassicist-tobetruly"civilised,"etc.-werefainter,butin tacitformthey existed.Both societies,however,madefamiliaritywithaclassicalbodyofknowledgea matterof aesthetic,s wellas moral, advantage."Puns,euphemisms,llusionstoclassicalquotations,nda refinedndpurelyliteraryntellectualitywereconsideredthe conversationaldealofthegenteelman,commentedMaxWeberongentlemanlyocietynImperialChina.10Toa lesserextent,hepoweroftheaptandwittylassicalallu-sioncarriedadvantageinEngland.Certainlyt didin the(old-style)HousesofParliament.Classicalculture,n short,ontributedothedifferentiatedtylehatgavethegentlemanliteitsmagicalaura.In both societies,respectforclassicaleducationwaslinkedwiththe agrariantraditionsf therulinggroup.Gentrylasses,comparedwithurbanand businessclasses,seemtoveneratetraditionbovethe uncertainpromisesfchange.In"classic"literaturendart,thegentlemanindshispreferencesulfilled.or,bydefinition,classiconlybecomesa classicwhenitgainsameasureofantiquity;whenitappearstoconformoa well-orderedtructure;andwhentfollowsbsoluteandunquestionablerules.'1Despitethiscommontheme,theconnectionbetweenclassicsandleisure,and therelationofbothtopublicservice,wasnotpreciselythe
7
Reinholdiebuhr,MoralManandImmoralociety,cribners,ewYork,1932,p.126.
8
ItisinterestingereonotethatntheOxfordictionaryhesubsidiaryegaldefinitionfthegentlemanontainshefactorfeisure:aman"whohasnooccupa-tion.
9"....
moderaten hiswordsutardentnhisactions."Confucius,unYN&,artXIV,Ch.29.
10
FromMaxWeber:
Essays,
translatedyH.Gerth&C.W.Mills,KeganPaul,London,947.11ConciseOxfordictionary,p.cit.,eeunderclassic,""classical,"and,bycontrast,romantic.

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