While self-interest is depreciated in Confucian ethics the processes of family relations in traditional China are animated by the self-interested actions of family members. The paper outlines the Confucian ideology of filial piety which is commensurate with the governance of family life organized hierarchically and through the senior male's management of the joint-family's collective property. The structure, operations and principles of membership in traditional Chinese families are indicated, highlighting the tensions within them between consanguinity and conjugality and their material bases. The differential operation of self-interested actions by husbands and wives is also presented. A non-Confucian model of the relational-self is outlined in which both the collective context of Chinese families and the self-interested actions of individual family members within them is explicated.
Keywords Confucianism  self‐interested action  filial piety  greater‐ and lesser‐self  relational‐self
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DOI 10.1111/jtsb.12037
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Mencius. Mencius - 2009 - Columbia University Press.
Chinese Relationalism: Theoretical Construction and Methodological Considerations.Kwang‐Kuo Hwang - 2000 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 30 (2):155–178.
Patriarchalism in Imperial China and Western Europe.GaryG Hamilton - 1984 - Theory and Society 13 (3):393-425.

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