Monday, June 25, 2018

Harmony and Chinese privilege



Harmony is often used as a term drawn from Confucianism and other cultural tropes connected to Chinese origin narratives to portray a positive narrative of institutional and organizational cultures.

In such narratives, a desirable harmonious structure is one that is devoid of conflict and dialectics, one where "all get along." The condition of "getting along" is placed in opposition to notions of conflict and argumentation.

Obfuscated in this narrative however is the way in which the concept of harmony serves as a trope for reproducing and protecting privilege in Chinese majority societies.

As a trope, harmony calls for the production of consent, while simultaneously erasing the voices of difference and dissent. "Other" voices from elsewhere are projected as threatening to the desired state of equilibrium.

That this desired state of equilibrium often typically serves the dominant elite categories is obfuscated in the discursive space. The voices of the margins are often framed as threatening to the concept of harmony when they challenge the very foundations of the status quo.

A harmonious society that privileges "getting along" is also one that often strategically erases difference to produce the condition of harmony. 

2 comments:

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Unknown said...

Prof. Dutta. Saroja here from NUS sociology. Hope you are doing well. I'm very interested in the above talk. Can I assess an online version?