An Overview of Chinese Concepts of Family Through Traditional ValuesSema Gökenç Gülez
This study aims to analyze and discuss family ethics, family structure, family members’ status and roles, the individual-family relationship, and the familystate relationship by analyzing the concept of family traditional values and norms within the framework of the theory of structural functionalism. Value judgments and normative rules in society are intensely experienced in the family as the smallest structural societal unit, and family ethics are important in terms of determining the functions and duties individuals have in the family as well as the relationship the family has with society and the state. Confucianism forms the basis of China’s traditional mentality and is based on family ethics, with individual, family, and state being considered inseparable concepts. For this reason, family ethics in Chinese society has been formed and shaped in line with the principles advocated by Confucianism. Although some changes have occurred in family structures and the status and roles of family members as a result of globalization and modernization, traditional values and their effects on the basis of family ethics in Chinese society can still be seen. This study compares certain aspects of family ethics with Western societies.
Geleneksel Değerler Üzerinden Çin Toplumundaki Aile Kavramına BakışSema Gökenç Gülez
Bu çalışma, geleneksel değerler ve normlar üzerinden Çin toplumundaki aile kavramını ele alarak, aile etiği, aile yapısı, aile üyelerinin statüsü ve rolleri, bireyaile ilişkisi, aile-toplum ve devlet ilişkisini yapısal işlevsel kuram çerçevesinde incelemeyi amaçlamaktadır. Toplumdaki değer yargıları ve normatif kurallar toplumun en küçük yapı birimi olan ailede yoğun olarak yaşanmakta olup, aile etiği bireyin ailedeki işlev ve görevlerini, bireyin ve ailenin toplum ve devlet ile olan ilişkisini belirlemesi açısından önemlidir. Çin’in geleneksel düşünce yapısının temelini oluşturan Konfuçyanizm’in temelinde aile etiği yatmakta ve birey, aile ve devlet kavramları birbirinden ayrılmaz kavramlar olarak düşünülmektedir. Bu sebeple Çin toplumundaki aile etiği Konfuçyanizm’in savunduğu ilkeler doğrultusunda oluşmuş ve şekillenmiştir. Küreselleşme ve modernleşme ile beraber aile yapıları ve bireyin ailedeki görevlerinde bir takım değişiklik görülmesine rağmen, Çin toplumundaki aile etiğinin temelinde geleneksel değerleri ve etkilerini hâlâ görmek mümkündür. Bu çalışmada, aile etiğine dair bazı hususlarda Batı toplumlarıyla mukayeseye yer verilmiştir.
China is a civilization that stands out with its 4,000 years of written history as the pioneer of four great inventions with various ethnic groups and its historical and cultural richness in different fields and multicultural diversity. Chinese society has a long and deep-rooted history as well as traditional values and norms that have remained valid from past to present. The types of family structure that have been seen in societies from past to present as well as the relations that family members have with one another and the relations the family has with the state are formed over the values that exist in a society. The traditional values and norms that exist in Chinese society have been formed in line with the principles advocated by Confucius and his teachings, which have deeply affected Chinese society in different areas. The traditional values that exist in a society primarily begin in the family as the smallest structural unit of the society where a person is born. Confucian traditional values are based on family ethics. As in most societies, family comes first in traditional Chinese society. For this reason, the individual’s role and status in the family is very important in the formation of normative societal values. The traditional values that family elders adhere to under the roof of the family are transferred to family members through the education given in the family. One is expected to behave according to the traditional values that exist in the society and the family in one’s relationships within the family as well as in the duties and responsibilities that family members must fulfill toward one another. Considering individuals’ relationships with family elders and other family members, traditional values are also valid for their relationships with society outside of the family. Therefore, while the relationships and responsibilities between the individual and the family are shaped within the framework of traditional values, the relations of Chinese society and even the Chinese nation with other nations develop based on these traditional values. As a matter of fact, Confucius emphasized that society should consider the collective community interest over individual interests, and every person in society is responsible for the rise or fall of the country (天下兴亡，匹夫有责). This shows family ethics to also be fundamental with regard to relationships at the community and country level. Unlike Western societies, family in Chinese society is a concept dominated by traditional values. Traditional values determine the relationships among family members, the duties and responsibilities each one has, and the relationships that the family has with society and the state. For this reason, the relationships between the individual and the family and between the family and the state come to the fore in Chinese society, with individual, family, and state being considered inseparable concepts. In the line with the traditional values and norms in Chinese society, the individual’s duty that begins in the family then forms a basis in the relationship the family has with the state and society. Although many developments have occurred in various areas of Chinese society through globalization and modernization and the family structure does vary in today’s Chinese society, the concept of family and family ethics are still based on traditional values and norms.
This study aims to analyze the concept of family and family ethics in China through the lens of traditional values and norms within the framework of the theory of structural functionalism. The study also aims to understand how traditional values and norms have shaped family ethics, the relationships among family members, the family structure, family members’ roles, and families’ relationships with the state and society. The study will discuss the effects Confucianist values have on family ethics by comparing certain aspects of Western family ethics with Chinese family ethics. This article will contribute to the understanding of family as a concept, ethics in China from its ancient past to modern times, and the Confucianist ethics and values that have shaped family relations, individual responsibilities, individual-family relations, and family- state relations.