Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience
"This bold, intellectually ambitious, and wholly original book challenges the way in which Western social science understands China.... It will set the standard for all future comparative and theoretical research on China."—Timothy Brook, Stanford University"This is a most extraordinary book. Wong's approach is to explore carefully similarities and differences between Chinese and European development over the long term, highlighting themes related to state-making and popular action. This is by far the most sophisticated, extended discussion of imperial and modern China in comparative perspective that I have seen."—Peter C. Perdue, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyThe assumption still made in much social science research that Europe provides a universal model of development is fundamentally mistaken, according to R. Bin Wong. The solution is not, however, simply to reject Eurocentric norms but to build complementary perspectives, such as a Sinocentric one, to evaluate current understandings of European developments. A genuinely comparative perspective, he argues, will free China from wrong expectations and will allow those working on European problems to recognize the distinct character of Western development.