Identification, confucianism, and intersubjectivity: Issues related with social empathy in East Asia

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Social Empathy is the ability to understand different groups of people by perceiving or experiencing their life situations. A Social Empathy perspective requires the ability to recognize differences between one's group and other social groups. It also calls for insight into the contextual environments that create systematic barriers among different social groups. In this sense, social empathy can play a role in resisting the compelling nationalist ethos of the nation-state, as Lui argues in this special issue. In a similar vein, Wang and Nahm suggest that the social empathy of Chinese people based on long-lived historical experiences can bring about a tension with the state-centered ideology of the PRC. Finally, Nishihara highlights how social empathy can promote cosmopolitanism and transnationalism during the times of national disasters. The studies in this special issue allude to the importance of the Social Empathy approach to social research by illuminating different cases of active engagement of diverse groups of society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Asian Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Confucianism
  • East Asia
  • Identification
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Social empathy


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