Guanxi

From Academic Kids

Guanxi (Template:Zh-tsp; Cantonese IPA: ; Jyutping: gwaan1 hai3), describes the basic force that holds the personalised networks of influence. The Pinyin romanization of this Chinese word is used when people realized that the word "connections" cannot suffciently reflect its cultural implications.

It can be literally translated as "relationship". It has been a central concept in Chinese society and describes a personal connection between two people in which one is able to prevail upon another to perform a favor or service. The two people need not be of equal social status. It could be a network of contacts which an individual can call upon whensomething needs to be done, and through he or she can exert an influence.

The term is generally not used to describe relationships within a family, although it is akin to an extended family. The term is also generally not used to describe relationships which are defined by bureaucratic norms (i.e. a boss and an office worker or a teacher and a student). The relationships formed by guanxi are personal and not transferable.

It has been extensively studied and described in studies of Chinese economic and political behavior, and sociologists have linked it with the concept of social capital. It has been described as a Gemeinschaft value structure. When a guanxi network violates bureaucratic norms, it can lead to corruption. Guanxi can also form the basis of patron-client relations. Often, guanxi obligations take precedence over civic duties, leading to nepotism and patrimonialism.

A closely related concept is that of ganqing or feeling which reflects the depth of feeling within an interpersonal relationship.

See also: Chinese social relations

External links

  • Guanxi (http://chinese-school.netfirms.com/guanxi.html) - an article on Guanxi
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