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Modern state building and the problem of intermediate institutions : religion, family and military in East Asia

By Xiaoming Huang


This article examines the problem of intermediate institutions in modern state building in Japan, Korea and China. In particular, it investigates how the state tried to redefine its relations with the forces of religion, family and military in building a direct, effective and exclusive relationship with the individual. The absence of religion-dominated governance, the long history of a centralized state system, and the critical role of the family and military in reinforcing the state in pre-modern society created a local pattern of modern state building in which these significant social and political forces have only gradually lost their capacity to compete with the state as a form of public authority and, consequently, their emergent relations with the state have been ambiguous. This study also finds evidence of a “breakthrough” that divided the process of modern state building into two distinct phases in which different patterns of power relations existed among the state, religion, family and military. These ambiguous emergent relations and the “mid-way breakthrough” constitute two defining elements of the institutional dynamism of modern political development in East Asia

Topics: modern state building, institutions, religion, military, family, East Asia, Japan, China, Korea, political development
Year: 2006
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