From the Soil


From the Soil (simplified Chinese: 乡土中国; traditional Chinese: 鄉土中國; pinyin: Xiāngtǔ zhōngguó), first published in 1947, is a work by Fei Xiaotong, a pioneering Chinese sociologist and anthropologist. The book is a compilation of the author's lecture notes and a series of essays he wrote for Chinese journal Shiji Pinglun. Banned in Mainland China shortly after the communist takeover and in Taiwan due to Fei's perceived support of the Communist regime, the book only remained available in the Chinese-speaking world in Hong Kong until the 1980s, when Fei was rehabilitated and instated as a professor at Peking University. It was only translated into English in 1992. Fei wrote the book in an effort to develop a conceptual framework for depicting the moral and ethical characteristics of Chinese society, while simultaneously contrasting Chinese society's organizational structure with Western society. According to Fei, the title came from his trying to convey the idea that "the Chinese people come from the soil". Originally written with a Chinese audience in mind for the purpose of explicitly delineating the unique characteristics of their society, the book is also popular outside of China as a way to study and relate to Chinese society.
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date of publication: 1947
genre: monograph

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